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By Jacques Lacan
TELEVISION
THE SEMINAR OF JACQUES LACAN BOOK I THE SEMINAR OF JACQUES LACAN BOOK II THE SEMINAR OF JACQUES LACAN BOOK III THE SEMINAR OF JACQUES LACAN BOOK VII
THE SEMINAR OF JACQUES LACAN BOOK XI

ECRITS: A SELECTION
FEMININE SEXUALITY

THE SEMINAR OF

JACQUES LACAN
Edited by

JACQUES-ALAIN MILLER

Book XI

THE FOUR FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS OF PSYCHOANALYSIS
Translated by

ALAN SHERIDAN

W. W. NORTON & COMPANY NEW YORK • LONDON

First published as a Norton paperback 1981; reissued 1998
Printed in the United States of America
All rights reserved.

French title: Le Seminaire de Jacques Lacan, Xl, Les Livre quartre concepts fondamentaux de Ia psychanalyse' (Editions du
Seull, 1973)

Copyright © £ditions du Seuil 1973
Translation © Alan Sheridan 1977 First American Edition, 1978 Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Lacan, Jacques, 1901—

The Four fundamental concepts of psycho-analysis. Translation of Les quatre concepts fondamentaux de Ia psychanalyse, originally published as v. 11 of the author's Le seminaire de Jacques Lacan Includes Index 1. Psychoanalysis—Addresses, essays, lectures. I. Title. BF173.L146213 1978 150'.19'5 77-12108
ISBN 0-393-31775-7

W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. V. 10110

W W Norton & Company Ltd., 10 Coptic Street, London WCIA IPU

234567890

,

//

CONTENTS
page vii

Preface to the English-Language Edition Editor's Note

i Excommunication

THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION
Freudian Unconscious and Ours 3 Of the Subject of Certainty 4 Of the Network of Signiflers 5 Tuché and Automaton
2 The

17

29 42 53

y

OF THE GAZE AS Objet Petit a
6 The Split between the Eye and the Gaze 7 Anamorphosis 8 The Line and Light g What is a Picture?
67
79

THE TRANSFERENCE AND THE DRIVE
io Presence of the Analyst ii Analysis and Truth or the Closure of the Unconscious 12 Sexuality in the Defiles of the Signifier 13 The Deconstruction of the Drive 14 The Partial Drive and its Circuit From Love to the Libido
123 136 149

i6i
174 187

AND BACK TO THE TRANSFERENCE
i6 The Subject and the Other: Alienation 17 The Subject and the Other: Aphanisis
V

THE FIELD OF THE OTHER

203 216

CONTENTS

i8 Of the Subject who is Supposed to Know, of the first Dyad and of the Good 230 19 From Interpretation to the Transference 244

TO CONCLUDE
20 In you more than you
Translator's Note
Index
263

277
283

vi

Invented by a solitary. as it happens. since it has ex-sisted. a case of no importance. an incontestable theoretician of the unconscious (which is not what one imagines it to be—the unconscious. or hysteria: that of my colleagues. vii . is called an analysand. Now. the Beloved of Mathesis. I add my pinch of salt: a fact of hystory. I would say. is real). in passing through awareness. All I can do is tell the truth. No. changed. in psycho-analysis (psych = fiction of). It should be noted that psycho-analysis has. This conveys the idea he had of psycho-analysis—a plague— except that it proved to be anodyne in the land where he brought it. there is no shortage of analysands in our lands. And. as a matter of simple fact. Like satisfaction. in that space that supports this unconscious. To be fair. that isn't so—I have missed it. then only is one sure that one is in the unconscious. There is a way of sorting out this muddle that is satisfactory for other than formal reasons (symmetry. does not lie.PREFACE TO THE ENGLISH-LANGUAGE EDITION When the space of a lapsus no longer carries any meaning (or interpretation). Not without abusing his disciples (for they were disciples only because he knew not what he did). But one runs after it all the same. But one has only to be aware of the fact to find oneself outside it. There is no friendship there. with the use of an individual—who. a little late in the day. it is acquired only with use. the solitary was the first to set the example. but one in which I happened to find myself implicated for concerning myself with someone who introduced me to them as having imposed on myself Freud. One knows. There is no truth that. That is a fact of human reality—what man calls reality. the public adopted/adapted it quite painlessly. it is now practised in couples. for example).

as they say. according to Jewish morality (to which Freud remained attached in this respect). What hierarchy could confirm him as an analyst. even if it looks like a subject. There remains the question of what could drive anyone. then. especially after an analysis. to hystorize from It cannot come from himself. So one must take account of the analyst in psycho-analytic treatment. are there cases in which you are impelled by some other reason than the wish to set yourself up. above all your. A poem that is being written. for he knows something about the analyst. if Freud had not opened up the way for him—Freud. his positive transference. I imagine. One must admit that the question (the question of another is necessary to support the status of a profession newly A hystory that I do not call eternal. Handing out rings to initiates is not to call by a name. to earn money. with which it dabbles? The mirage of truth. should we not put this profession to the test of that truth of which the so-called unconscious function dreams.. Hence my proposition that the analyst hystorizes only from himself: a patent fact. Even if he is confirmed in doing so by a hierarchy. to keep those who are in your care. to call him by his name. He would have no social standing. from which only lies can be expected (this is what. has no other term than the satisfaction that marks the end of the analysis. viii . because only in relation to real number. that is to say. I repudiate this certificate: I am not a poet.PREFACE I would have preferred to forget that: but one does not forget what the public constantly reminds you of. that is. give him the rubber-stamp? A certificate tells me that I was born. but a poem. we call 'resistance'). now that he has liquidated. in polite language. For no one can call anyone an analyst and Freud did not do so. How could he contemplate taking up the same function? In other words. its aetas is to the serial Why. self. I say.

only to say that he is the simplest consequence of a refusal —such a mental refusal !—of a psycho-analysis. I would-mention that. of that which is lacking. in so far as I feel I must. but of scattered.. I shall speak of Joyce. because it is not a question. while refraining from imposing this pass on all. But to interpret it in Christian terms. I was entangled in urgent cases as I wrote this. I write. as it happens. ill-assorted individuals. however. Paris 17. which emerges only there. that is to say. to make a pair with them.PREFACE Since the main aim of analysis is to give this urgently needed satisfaction. The offer is prior to an urgent request that one is not sure of unless one has weighed it. I have done so by virtue of having produced the only conceivable idea of the object. as Hellenic jean-f. L. This cork is supported by the term of the impossible —and the little we know about the real shows its antinomy to all verisimilitude. This is an odd aspect of that love of one's neighbour upheld by the Judaic tradition. who has preoccupied me much this year. as a cork.5. as a result. The lack of the lack makes the real. that of the object as cause of desire. what is presented to the analyst is something other than the neighbour: it is the unsorted material of a demand that has nothing to do with the meeting (of a person from Samaria fit to dictate Christic duty). let us ask ourselves how someone can devote himself to these urgent cases. I have therefore designated as a 'pass' that putting of the hystorization of the analysis to the test. in order to be on a level (au pair) with these cases.76 ix J. his work illustrates. which. as always. I have left it at the disposal of those who are prepared to run the risk of attesting at best to the lying truth. in view of my embarrassment where art—an element in which Freud did not bathe without mishap—is concerned. . trerie. But I have done no more than touch on this. of all.

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rectified—the expunged material amounting to less than three pages. it is the version sine qua non. full-stop. M. for the original.EDITOR'S NOTE My intention here was to be as unobtrusive as possible and to obtain from Jacques Lacan's spoken work an authentic version that would stand.-A. dash. The most difficult matter is the invention of a system of punctuation. and lacking the speaker's gesture and intonation. in the future. J. For the short-hand transcription. Nevertheless. which does not exist. riddled as it is with inaccuracies. which I have examined. word by word. xl . cannot be regarded as the original. and the texts of all the seminars will follow the same principles. where necessary. paragraph—determines meaning. and. since all punctuation—comma. But this was the price to be paid if a readable text was to be produced.

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The Seminar of JACQUES LACAN Book XI .

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I withdrew from this role (to which I had in fact devoted my life) as a result of events occurring within what is called a psycho-analytic association. Today I should like simply to point out to you the meaning I intend to give to this title and the way I hope to it. I consider the problem deferred for the time being. and. to express my thanks to M. The hysteric and Freud's own desire Ladies and Gentlemen. which I have been invited to give by the École pratique des Hautes Etudes. the chairman of the section of the Hautes Etudes that appointed me to appear before you here. to further this teaching of mine. M. addressed to psycho-analysts. I held what was called a seminar. However that may be.I EXCOMMUNICATION Am I The essence of comedy. by that token. Between science and religion. let us simply say. Fernand Braudel. impugned as such. What is a praxis?. And yet. And if today I am in a position to be able. though not all of you. before embarking on what for me is a new phase. I must first introduce myself to you—despite the fact that most. more specifically. I feel it incumbent upon me. It might be said that my qualification to undertake the same role elsewhere is not. I shall be talking to you about the fundamentals of psycho-analysis. Braudel has informed me of his regret at being unable to be present: I would like to pay tribute to what I can only call his nobility in providing me with a means of continuing my I . namely: am I qualzfied to do so? My qualification for speaking to you on this subject amounts to this: for ten years. know me already—because the circumstances are such that before dealing with this subject it might be appropriate to ask a preliminary question. within the association that had conferred this role upon me. In this series of lectures. As some of you may know.

from the beginning. I wish also to thank all those who on this occasion demonstrated their sympathy to such effect that M. Nobility is surely the right word for his welcome to someone in my position—that of a refugee otherwise reduced to silence. As a result. my seminar was. some psycho-analysts. was generous enough to put this auditorium at the disposal of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes—and without which I should have been at a loss to welcome you in such numbers—for which I wish to express my most heartfelt thanks. since he is present. Ey. and for lack of anything better in the situation I was in—I was led to define a criterion of what psycho-analysis is. M. who is here today. the treatment handed Out by psycho-analysts. It was an element of those fundamentals. Braudel extended this welcome to me as soon as he had been alerted by the vigilance of my friend Claude LeviStrauss. whose style and reputation alone were known to him. because it was a contribution. precisely. namely. implicated. in the topographical and even the military sense of the word—the base for my teaching. was powerless to resist an operation masterminded by an editorial committee on which there were. Director of the Ecole Normale SupCrieure. The 2 . perhaps. the training of psychoanalysts. All this concerns the base. I As far as the fundamentals of psycho-analysis are concerned. to them—because it was an internal part of psycho-analytic praxis itself—because it was aimed at what is an essential of that praxis. will remember the article in question as it was published in a volume of the encyclopaedia he edits. Robert Flaceière. so to speak. And. M. There was a time when. it is all the easier for me to recall the fury that the article aroused and the pressure exerted to get the said article withdrawn from the said encyclopaedia. namely. in concreto. whose sympathy for my cause is well known.EXCOMMUNICATION teaching. ironically—temporarily. Henry Ey. I shall now turn to what it is about—the fundamentals of psychoanalysis. whom I am delighted to see here today and who knows how precious for me this evidence of his interest in my work is—in work that has developed in parallel with his own.

To examine it in broad daylight is what I proposed to do then and. it is not wholly inside. and the question—as I pointed out in the article—still has a certain bat-like quality. And the acceptance of this ban is to be a condition of the international affiliation of the Psycho-analytical Association to which I belong. and which are resuscitated by the fact that here I am. But this is not all. and it was precisely that which Spinoza was condemned to. it is what I propose to do today. For me. that my teaching—specifically designated as such—has been the object of censure by a body calling itself the Executive Committee of an organization calling itself the International Psycho-analytical Association. The latter exists only in a religious community designated by the significant symbolic term sjnagogue. since what it amounts to is no less than a ban on this teaching—which is to be regarded as nul and void as far as any qualification to the title of psychoanalyst is concerned. and you will. be able to judge for yourselves whether it has lost any of its relevance. whatever position I am in. I am not indulging in personal reminiscence. what it amounts to is something strictly comparable to what is elsewhere called major excommunication—although there the term is never pronounced without any possibility of repeal. Such censorship is of no ordinary kind. this seems all the less likely given that the questions I raise in it are the very same as those that I shall be grappling with here.EXCOMMUNICATION article concerned will be included in a collection of a number of my essays that I am trying to put together. On 27 July 1656—a singular bi-centenary. I think. in fact. an 3 . for it corresponds to that of Freud—Spinoza was made the object of the kherem. still asking that very same question—what is psycho-analjsis? No doubt there are certain ambiguities in all this. but whether it is outside is not known. in the present circumstances. In reminding you of all this. So. namely. I think you will agree that I am having recourse neither to gossip nor to any kind of polemic if I point out here what is simply a fact. The position I refer to has changed. It is expressly spelt out that this affiliation is to be accepted only if a guarantee is given that my teaching may never again be sanctioned by the Association as far as the training of analysts is concerned.

Nevertheless. it will be useful in what follows. but by the structure it implies. than for the intercessor whose precedent I have not hesitated to evoke—this is material for comedy. Do not imagine that for me—any more. the international affiliation of the Association. I suppose. I should like to let you know en passant that something of the order of a vast comic dimension in all this has not wholly escaped me. I am not saying—though it would not be inconceivable —that the community is a Church. 1 believe—you will be able to judge for yourselves—that not only by virtue of the echoes it evokes. serious enough terrain we have to cover. which consists of appending the clause of no return. Yet the question indubitably does arise—what is it in that community that is so reminiscent of religious practice? Nor would I have stressed this point—though it is sufficiently significant to carry the musty odour of scandal—were it not that like everything I have to say today. Please do not imagine that here—any more than elsewhere —I am indulging in some metaphorical game—that would be too puerile in view of the long and. It is no laugh- ing matter. I do not mean that I am indifferent to what happens to me in such circumstances. namely. in relation to me. This can be fully appreciated. It has to do with the situation I was in for two years. For what was at stake was the extent to which the concessions made with respect to the validity of my teaching could be traded off with the other side of the deal. were colleagues or even pupils—the object of what is called a deal. this fact introduces something that is essential to our investigation of psychoanalytic praxis. I do not wish to forgo this opportunity—we shall return to it later—of indicating that the situation can be experienced at the level of the comic dimension proper. 4 . I think. • since he had to wait some time before becoming the object of the chammata. that of knowing that I was—at the hands of precisely those who.EXCOMMUNICATION excommunication that corresponds to major excommunication. God knows. What I am referring to here is not at the level of what I have called excommunication. only by a psychoanalyst.

'which. in hundreds of thousands. called by a different name. in lots. from the point of view of humour. in an object that is. of its nature. but. and even. because. to bring this object out into the light of day is really and truly the essence of comedy. There was nothing particularly exceptional. it might be treated. we were to stop at the pudendum. about my situation. is simply the recognition of the comic. of those social supports which. with undue restraint. is sometimes. and I do not need to remind you that in the I5abbala it designates one of the modes of divine manifestation. I think. except that being traded by those whom I referred to just now as colleagues. no doubt. All the same. From the inside. especially in the position from which I can testify to it. as analysis shows. were it not that those parts were already to some extent exposed. from the moment it is perceived. and even pupils. here. This remark is not without relevance to my subject—the fundamentals of psycho-analysis—for fundamentwn has more than one meaning. that it may be experienced from the analytic point of view.EXCOMMUNICATION No doubt. in a way that overcomes it —namely. It is a well known fact that politics is a matter of trading—wholesale. in this register. who are now called citizens. with all their supposed sacred rights to autonomy. it would be extraordinary if. that is. as someone who had experienced it from the outside might do. But if the truth of the subject. I can tell you that this dimension is quite legitimate. does not reside in himself. the fundamentals would take the form of the bottom parts. which. in this context—the same subjects. The kind of exchange involved here is the exchange of individuals. if seen from the outside. in an analytic discourse. are known as 'subjects'. being the object of a deal is not a rare situation for an individual—contrary to all the verbiage about human dignity. is strictly identified with the pudenilum. then. a sort of false modesty. concealed. 5 . after all. In this context. Each of us at any moment and at any level may be traded off—without the notion of exchange we can have no serious insight into the social structure. even when he is in the position of master. on such an occasion. in a different context. This dimension of the situation is worth pointing out. not to mention the Rights of Man.

This is no longer a question of pudendum. We are not going to set out in search of our psycho-analysis. which places man in a position to treat the real by the symbolic. there is some discord that puts in question the very value of analysis. be expected of psycho-analysis. And they may ask themselves how such a thing is possible were it not that. its limits and its effects. It is the broadest term to designate a concerted human action. and it will direct us at once towards some fairly well located. or even a failure. at the level of the relation between your analysands and yourselves. or that stage of praxis. That is why I thought I was under an obligation to spare you no details. It is a question of knowing what may. but to present you with a fact. some of whom were still under analysis. This definition of praxis. in this deal. to present it at the very outset of what I now have to say when. and whose possible manipulation. whatever it may be. it is precisely by setting out from something that may provide grounds for scandal that we will be able to grasp in a more precise way what is called the training analjsis—that praxis. in the various. specifiable points of praxis. what must. very diversified fields of praxis. then. I hope you will see more clearly. I ask the question—What are the fundamentals. before you. Without even introducing by any kind of transition the two 6 . as an object. of psjchoWhich amounts to saying—What grounds it as 2 praxis? What is a praxis? I doubt whether this term may be regarded as inappropriate to psycho-analysis. is very extensive. like Diogenes in search of man. The fact that in doing so he encounters the imaginary to a greater or lesser degree is only of secondary importance here. may be surprised that certain of my analysands. which has been completely ignored in all published work on psychoanalysis—and throw some light on its aims. a very active part. analjth? in the broad sense of the term. on the outside. should have taken part. and the extent to which it may prove a hindrance. Well. whose outlines. Rather we shall take our psycho-analysis with us.EXCOMMUNICATION Some people.

In any case. there are in the field of so-called scientific research two domains that can quite easily be recognized. and that in which one finds. I have never regarded myself as a researcher. Indeed. Personally. I already mentioned a little while ago. Psycho-analysis. beneath the feet of whoever finds. as it were. then. may even enlighten us as to what we should understand by science. Indeed. in such a place. psycho-analysis is a form of research. there is no doubt some affinity between the research that seeks and the religious register. what I will call the hermeneutic demand. methodologized religion. and with such an audience. Well. it is by virtue of those elements of this debate that are established at the level of what we nowadays call the human sciences. a cornendless search that is then opened up? If the search concerns us here.EXCOMMUNICATION terms between which I wish to hold the question—and not at all in an ironic way—I posit first that. Furthermore. but stricken by something like oblivion. The other reference. The alreadj found is already behind. pushed back into the distant past of a primitive form of thought. someone will say. the phrase is often used— You would not seek me had not alreadj found me. Curiously enough. in such a large auditorium. and to examine the question with you. if I am here. one sees emerging. the religious one. I find. In the religious register. allow me to say quite clearly—in particular to the public authorities for whom this search has seemed. very vital way. to the shocked surprise of those around him—i do not seek. and even by religion. in these human sciences. Is it not. but of religion as we see it practised in a still living. I would like at once to avoid a misunderstanding. whether or not it is worthy of being included in one of these two registers. As Picasso once said. that in which one seeks. it is to ask myself whether is a science. specifying that I am speaking of religion in the true sense of the term—not of a desiccated. for some time now. which is precisely that which seeks—which seeks the ever new and the never 7 . to serve as a shibboleth for any number of things —that I am a bit suspicious of this term research. this corresponds to a fairly well defined frontier between what may and may not qualify as science.

It is possible to maintain that a science is specified by a definite object. because this object changes.EXCOMMUNICATION exhausted signification. after all. with what analysis calls interpretation. It so happens that. There are perhaps. It is in no way necessary that the tree of science should have a single trunk. a corridor of communication between psycho-analysis and the religious register. we analysts are interested in this herineneutics. I do not accept Duhem's demand that every science should refer to a unitary. it is disputable. at least by a certain reproducible level of operation known as experiment. on the other hand. makes ready use of interpretation. We cannot say that the object of modern physics is the same now as at its birth. We will extricate ourselves from it all the more easily in view of the fact that. I do not think that there are many of them. at least. hermeneutics. we shall require a little more. whether it is at the level of this field that the modern scientist. as a science develops. I would even go so far as to say that we can dispense with the implicit transcendent element in the position of the positivist. Now. as in the first chapter of Genesis. in many minds. system—a reference that is always in fact more or less idealist. but one threatened with being trampled under foot by him who finds. which I would date in the seventeenth century. But we must be very prudent. and in a very strange way. or world. we see. since it is a reference to the need of identification. which always refers to some ultimate unity of all the fields. We shall come back to this in due course. and may even be regarded as false. two different trunks—not that I attach in any way an cx8 . which I would date from the time of Lavoisier? It is possible that these remarks will force us into an at least tactical retreat. Before allowing psycho-analysis to call itself a science. because the way of developing signification offered by hermeneutics is confused. although this interpretation cannot in any way be conceived in the same way as the afore- mentioned hermeneutics. What specifies a science is having an object. therefore. is to be specified. In this respect. And is the object of modern chemistry the same as at the moment of its birth. and to start again from the praxis. to ask ourselves1 knowing that praxis delimits a field. who is not a man who knows a lot about everything.

is not a science? Something. Indeed. Diderot speaks throughout this little book. in the sense of the field of a praxis. Might this definition of science. when I point straight out. in my view. towards that central point that I put in question. and to maintain that it is perhaps what our training analysis seeks. an essential element in the matter. which is tinged to a greater or lesser degree with obscurantism. Although chemistry was born with Lavoisier. and in a quite overt way. and that we almost arrive at the stage of thinking that we can have a scientific apprehension of this experience. since we may be about to raise something similar concerning the presence of the analyst in the analytic Great Work. we see very well that it is not enough to define a science. There is a sort of ambiguity here—to subject an experience to a scientific examination always implies that the experience has of itself a scientific sub- sistance. and in a specific way. namely. I may even seem to have been saying the same thing myself in my teaching recently. to the mystical experience. alchemy. This remark is not beside the point. One further remark. all veils torn aside. but which certainly seems to be by him. despite the dazzling character of the stories he recounts from ages past. but why shouldn't we expect psycho-analysis to throw some light on it? If we hold to the notion of experience. with all the subtlety of mind we expect of him. namely—what is the analjvst's desire? 3 What must there be in the analyst's desire for it to operate in a correct way? Can this question be left outside the limits of our field.EXCOMMUNICATION ceptional importance to this myth. But it is obvious that we cannot re-introduce the mystical experience into science. as you may realize. based on the field determined by a praxis. is decisive. but of alchemy. as such. when all is said and done. this definition might be applied very well. for example. be applied to alchemy to give it the status of a science? I was recently rereading a little book that is not even included in Diderot's Complete Works. What is it that makes us say at once that. as it is in effect in the sciences—the modern sciences 9 . It is even by this door that it is regarded once again as scientific. that the purity of soul of the operator was. notof chemistry.

Is that enough to define the conditions of a science? I don't think so. but. we can't help it— that offormula making.EXCOMMUNICATION of the most assured type—where no one questions himself as to what there must be in the desire. again. Here. where can our practice we even say that what we are dealing with be moored? are concepts in the strict sense? Are they concepts in the process I0 . this mast. to some such question as—Is agriculture a science? Some people will say yes. No one pays any attention to him anyway. of the physicist? There really must be a series of crises for an Oppenheimer to question us all as to what there is in the desire that lies at the basis of modern physics. for example. for the simple reason that the problem of the training of the analyst poses it. Is this desire something of the same order as that which is required of the adept of alchemy? In any case. And the training analysis has no other purpose than to bring the analyst to the point I designate in my algebra as the analyst's desire. if you'll forgive me. just like a true science. You may feel that I am leading you. it would be very unusual in the history of the sciences. A false science. little by little. and did he really remain the only theoretician of this supposed science to have introduced fundamental concepts? Were this so. may be expressed in formulae. when psycho-analysis. Without this trunk. then. This enables me to bring out one definite dimension—we are at the abc stage. The question is not so simple. appears to have such problematic features. the analyst's desire can in no way be left outside our question. by a field—between agriculture and agronomy. It is thought to be a political incident. What are the formulae in psycho-analysis concerned with? What motivates and modulates this 'sliding-away' (glissement) of the object? Are there psycho-analytic concepts that we are now in possession of? How are we to understand the almost religious maintenance of the terms proposed by Freud to structure the analytic experience? Was Freud really the first. as a supposed science. some people no. this pile. I offer this example only to suggest to you that you should make some distinction between agriculture defined by an object and agriculture defined. I must for the moment leave the question open. after all.

tedious. and that those that are too difficult are quite simply ignored—that. he is cured of his silence. by an enumeration of the 'main sewer' type. that in this literature most of the concepts are distorted. for example. therefore. everything that has been developed around the concept of frustration is. and in doing so believe that one is explaining why your daughter is silent—for the point at issue is to get her to speak. The symptom is first of all the silence in the supposed speaking subject. from which it derives. but one cannot avoid the impression that. everything is explained in advance. Analysis is not a matter of discovering in a particular case the differential feature of the theory.EXCOMMUNICATION of formation? Are they concepts in the process of development. fragmented. with a view to resolving the question as to whether psjcho-anal. Of course. of conquest. obviously. with certain rare exceptions to be found among my pupils. and this effect proceeds from a type of intervention that has nothing to do with a differential feature. and there is some point in seeing them grouped into a few chapters. the maintenance of Freud's concepts at the centre of all theoretical discussion in that dull. in a direction that can only be one of work. in a whole field. It might be said. with the ternary structure of the Oedipus complex or with the castration complex. It is certainly no contribution to the theoretical status of psycho-analysis for a writer like Fenichel to reduce. clearly retrograde and pre-conceptual. But this does not tell us anything about why he began to speak. that in the last resort. If he speaks. Similarly. no one is any longer concerned. it amounts to overcoming the barrier of silence. to be revised at a later date? I think this is a question in which we can maintain that some progress has already been made. debased. forbidding chain—which is read by no- body but psycho-analysts—known as the psycho-analytic literature. In fact. Analysis consists precisely in getting her to speak. the accumulated material of the psycho-analytic experience to the level of platitude. in relation to Freud's concepts. at one time. a certain quantity of facts have been gathered together. was called the analysis of the resistances. and this is what. II . does not alter the fact that analysts in general have not yet caught up with these concepts. in movement.sis is a science.

is. by the following reference—what conceptual status must we give to four of the terms introduced by Freud as fundamental concepts. The fact that. the desire of Freud himself. in reality. at our next meeting. but this is not to say that the relation was fully elucidated—far from it—by the massive notion of the transference. What I had to say on the Names-of-the-Father had no other purpose. in Freud. as was only to be expected. It is absolutely essential that we should go back to this origin if we wish to put analysis on its feet. the relations of desire to language and discovered the mechanisms of the unconscious. in the case of the silent girl. I have situated these concepts in relation to the more general function that embraces them. in fact. So hysteria places us. that of the hysteric. In any case.EXCOMMUNICATION It merely designates for us a differential feature which. than to put in question the origin. in our next meeting. the transference and the drive? We will reach our next step. in my past teaching. repetition. namely. was never analysed. by considering the way in which. The truth is perhaps simply one thing. Now. to discover by what privilege Freud's desire was able to find the entrance into the field of experience he designates as the unconscious. such a mode of questioning the field of experi- ence will be guided. and which makes it possible to show their 12 . I was put into the position of having to give up my seminar. I had reached precisely this point when. on the track of some kind of original sin in analysis. the differential feature of the hysteric is precisely this —it is in the very movement of speaking that the hysteric constitutes her desire. I would say. There has to be one. the fact that something. So it is hardly surprising that it should be through this door that Freud entered what was. by a strange coincidence. the best way is to satisfy her hysteric's desire—which is for her to posit her desire in relation to us as an unsatisfied desire —leaves entirely to one side the specific question of whj she can sustain her desire only as an unsatisfied desire. the unconscious. in order to cure the hysteric of all hersymptoms. That this relation of desire to language as such did not remain concealed from him is a feature of his genius. namely.

There is an entire thematic area concerning the status of the subject when Socrates declares that he does not place desire in a position of original subjectivity. Well! Freud. TORT: When jou relate to Freud's desire and to the desire of the hjsteric. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS M. namely. so as to leave time for those who do not have to go on at once to other pursuits to ask questions arising from my lecture. The problem of this desire is not psychological. might .EXCOMMUNICATION operational value in this field. however. but dominant role in the transmission of psychoanalysis. does it accommodate the Freudian unconscious? It was through the hysterics that Freud learnt the way of the strictly Freudian unconscious. Freud's desire. but is it enough to accommodate the unconscious as such? And if it is able to do so. any more than is the unsolved problem of Socrates' desire. This year. I promised myself to break off at twenty-past two. I have said that the Freudian field of analytic practice remained dependent on a certain original desire. too. which always plays an ambiguous. I have placed at a higher level. which basis of the statutes of society. implicit function of the signifier as such. but in the position of an object. I posed the following question: the functioning of 'Primitive places at the Thinking' (la Pensée sauvage). is concerned with desire as an object. the subjacent. 15 January 1964 / '3 . is one unconscious.ou not be accused of LACAN: The reference to Freud's desire is not a psychological reference—and reference to the hysteric's desire is not a psychological reference. It was here that I brought the desire of the hysteric into play. while indicating at the same time that Freud did not stop there.

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The Unconscious and Repetition .

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which Aragon entities 'Contre-chant'. but which is related to what I said last year. Gap. loss Discontinuitj Signorelli Because I am beginning on time today. in my seminar. about the mysterious object. Vainement ton image arrive a ma rencontre Et ne m'entre oàje mis qui seulement Ia montre Toi Se tournant vers moi to ne saurais trouver Au mur de mon regard que ton ombre rlvée Je mis cc maiheureux comparable aux miroirs Q_ui peuvent réftéchir mais ne peuvent pas voir Comme eux mon tzil est vide et comme eux habité Dc l'absence de toi quifait sa cécité In vain your image comes to meet me And does not enter me where I am who only shows it Turning towards me you can find On the wall of my gaze only your dreamt-of shadow.2 THE FREUDIAN UNCONSCIOUS AND OURS Penséc There is cause onlj in something that doesn't work. '7 . I will start by reading a poem which. obstacle. It is a short poem to be found on page 73 of Fou d'Elsa. has no relation to what I am about to say. the most concealed object. I am that wretch comparable with mirrors That can reflect but cannot see Like them my eye is empty and like them inhabited By your absence which makes them blind. that of the scopic drive. in actual fact. I dedicate this poem to the nostalgia that some of you may feel for that interrupted seminar in which I developed the theme of anxiety and the function of the objet petit a.

of this 'counter-song'. This is the point at which those who heard my seminar last year will find a correspondence between the various forms of the objet a and the central symbolic function of the minus-phi [(— —evoked here by the strange reference. I will try to introduce you today . imagine to what degree of contempt for. of the propagation by his character. as he was invited to a circumcision. as I announced at the end of my first seminar. Thus. in order to find their guarantor. those who were with me last year—I apologize for being so allusive—they will appreciate the fact that Aragon—in this admirable work in which I am proud to find an echo of the tastes of our generation. so that it does not always represent for them those words. I know. that force them to fix their gaze elsewhere. They are being introduced to it through writings that are already dated. speech —to give it back its dignity. They should know that for some years all my effort has been required in a struggle to bring to the attention of these practitioners the true value of this instrument. I am referring to something that I can only call the refusal of the concept. the instrument of their work the practitioners of psycho-analysis can attain. which indeed I will find easier to specify here. for a time at least. or simply méconnaissance of. if I may put it this way.THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION They will appreciate. who are being introduced to my teaching for the first time. The fact that I am speaking here will not make me speak more philosophically. whereas only a propaedeutic reference was involved. that Aragon confers on the historical connotation. But let me turn to something else. I would like them to know that one of the indispensable co-ordinates in appreciating the meaning of this first teaching must be found in the fact that they cannot. I was thought to be obsessed with some kind of philosophy of language. which is certainly no accident. from their present position. devalued in advance. so much so that I am forced to turn to friends of my own age if I am to make myself understood about this poem—follows his poem with this enigmatic line—Thus said An-Xadjf once. That is why. even a Heideggerian one. the mad poet. I think. I There are some of you here.

Indeed. the drive is still so difficult to approach—so neglected. as constituting a science. the function of the training analysis. This question-mark indicates that our conception 91f the concept implies that the concept is always established in approach that is not unrelated to that which is imposed us. about it.THE FREUDIAN UNCONSCIOUS AND OURS to the major Freudian concepts—I have isolated four that seem to come within this category. The same goes for repetition. as a form. I would say—the conceptual elaboration known as the unconscious may be carried out. The transference—I hope to approach it next time—will introduce us directly to the algorithms that I thought necessary to set out in practice. our approach will provide a contrast with those who boldly venture into this terrain with incomplete and flimsy references. among us. We shall see. It is only by going through this exposition that we may. be regarded. It is in relation to the other two terms written on the blackboard at the end of the line. with all its paradoxical. one should say —that I do not think I can do more this year than touch upon it after we have dealt with the transference. therefore. only the essence of analysis—especially that which is profoundly problematic. In this respect. 19 . though at the same time crucial. especially with a view to the implementation of the analytic technique as such. The two small arrows that you see indicated on the blackboard after The ujiconscious and Repetition point towards the question-mark tlØt follows. side of the approach to this concept—begin our examination of the drive. odd. namely. it is only by a leap. not to say scabrous. The subject and The real that we will be led to give form to the question posed last time—can psychoanalysis. by infinitesimal calculus. a potential science? I shall take first the concept of the unconscious. aporic qualities. if the is modelled on an approach to the reality that the has been created to apprehend. Lastly. a passage to the limit. The few words on the blackboard under the heading Freudian concepts are the first two—the unconscious and repetition. at the end of the year—without wishing myself in any way to minimize the shifting. that it manages to realize We are then required to say in what respect—under what form of finite quantity.

elaborated by Claude and which he has pinpointed in the title of his book. The important thing. and then there is I at the level at which I am to reflect the first I. something organizes this field. even before those collective experiences that may be related only to social needs are inscribed in it. namely. and which reduces its appearance—the primary classificatory function. of itself. inscribes its initial lines of force. Paul. supports that are arranged in themes of opposition. functioning spontaneously. but which must be distinguished from any kind of psycho-sociology. who situates himself in it—the level at which there is counting. This is the function that Claude Levi-Strauss shows us to be the truth of the totemic function. that is to say. structured. is that we are seeking here —before any formation of the subject. This statement refers to a field that is much more accessible to us today than at the time of Freud. Before strictly human relations are established. and in this counting he who counts is already included. by the field that is explored.THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION 2 Most of you will have some idea of what I mean when I say — the unconscious is structured like a language. the I who counts. certain relations have already been determined. La Pensée Sauvage. They are taken from whatever nature may offer as supports. Paul. I will illustrate it by something that is materialized. for us. But it is quite natural—first the three brothers. and these signifiers organize human relations in a creative way. Remember the naive failure of the simpleton's delighted attempt to grasp the little fellow who declares—I have three brothers. in a presubjective way 20 . of a subject who thinks. in the historical period that has seen the formation of a science that may be termed human. Nature provides—I must use the word—signiflers. whose model is the combinatory operation. providing them with structures and shaping them. Before any experience. Ernest and me. Ernest and I are counted. recognize himself as he who counts. In our time. before any individual deduction. at what is certainly a scientific level. linguistics. It is only later that the subject has to recognize himself as such. things are counted.

force is used to designate a locus of opacity. which I would like to try to get you to grasp today. I will not go so far as to remark that the problem of cause has always been an embarrassment to philosophers. these references are enough to bring out the meaning of what I am insisting on. something definable. in the last resort. is unanalysable —impossible understand by reason—if indeed the rule of reason. beneath the term unconscious. that assures us that there is. accessible and objectifiable. The unconscious. and that it is not as simple as might be thought when. so many. one sees the four causes balancing one another—for I am not philosophizing here. 21 . since this would be to substitute the most common kind of mystery for a particular mystery—in general. the is always some Vergleic/zung. in fact. It is this structure. and would not claim to carry out so heavy an undertaking with so few references. in his An attempt to \introduce the concept of negative quantities into we can see closely Kant comes to understanding the of cause has always presented to any ceptual In that essay. suggests a whole world of references. from the point of view of philosophical criticism. I don't think so. is something different. even if Kant inscribes it in the categories of pure reason—to be more precise. which provides them with a solid support for their labours. does this mean that I hope to include the concepts introduced historically by Freud under the term unconscious? No. or equivalent—and that there remains essentially in the function of cause a certain gap. a term used by Kant in the Prolegomena. between inherence and community —cause is not any the more rationalized for this. in Aristotle.THE FREUDIAN UNCONSCIOUS AND OURS —it is this linguistic structure that gives its status to the unconscious. Some of you at least will remain unsatisfied if I simply point out that. cause—any modality. the Freudian concept. But when I urge psycho-analysts v. However. he inscribes it in the table of relations. I am well aware that I am entering here on a terrain which. as to make me hesitate among them—but let's take our pick. It is certainly not enough to say that the unconscious is a dynamic concept. in any case. It is to the function of cause that I will refer today. -. For me.5 not to ignore this field. it is more or less stated that cause is açoncept that.

it would be quite immaterial. miasmas are the cause of fever—that doesn't mean anything either. There is no gap here. in the gap so characteristic of cause? Something of the order of the non-realized. and something that oscillates in the interval. The phases of the moon are the cause of tides—we know this from experience. wash his hands. a scar. as Freud said—the scar. on the other hand. Sooner or later. for example—for Freud. Well! It is at this point that I am trying to make you see by approximation that the Freudian unconscious is situated at that point. where. something would have been found. there is always something wrong. There is here. but of the unconscious. The mass of a body that is crushed on the ground is not the cause of that which it receives in return for its vital force—its mass is integrated in this force that comes back to it in order to dissolve its coherence by a return effect. Whenever we speak of cause. Observe the point from which he sets out — The Aetiolog. In short. not of the neurosis. I am not handling this topology very skilfully. one might say. humoral determinates. like Pontius Pilot. in other words the law. there is always something anti-conceptual. But the neurosis becomes something else. Or again. Once this gap has been filled. think of what is pictured in the law of action and reaction. For what the unconscious does is to show us the gap through which neurosis recreates a harmony with a real—a real that may well not be determined. 22 .THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION Cause is to be distinguished from that which is determinate in a chain. By way of example. of the Neuroses—and what does he find in the hole. there is a hole. between cause and that which it affects. we know that the word cause is correctly used here. something happens. there is cause only in something that doesn't work. because I do not have time—I have simply jumped into the deep end—but I think you will be able to feel guided by the terms that I have introduced when you come to read Freud's own works. the question remains open. except perhaps at the end. something indefinite. in the split. The important thing is not that the unconscious determines neurosis—of that one Freud can quite happily. In this gap. sometimes a mere illness. One does not go without the other. is the neurosis cured? After all. a single principle.

one has no longer been sure what the term refusal means. to designate their ultimately unknown centke—-which is simply. even in a public speech. if the analyst is performing it properly. a certain is addressed to those to those furthest away. this dimension should be evoked in a register that has nothing unreal. That repression should discharge something into this area is not surprising. Believe me. It is always dangerous to disturb anything in that zone of shades. Nevertheless. of course. I am in a position to introduce into the domain of cause the law of the signifier. Certainly. type of discourse can be addressed In actual fact.THE FREUDIAN UNCONSCIOUS AND OURS One uses the term refusal. and perhaps it is part of the analyst's role. I would say. There is a danger in public precisely in so far as it knew this. busying themselves. about it. this dimension of the unconscious that I am evoking had been forgotten. but is rather unrealized. by psychologizing analytic theory. touching them at what Freud calls the navel—the navel of the\dreams. This is rather hasty—indeed. It is the abortionist's relation to limbo. 3 Now. The unconscious had closed itself up against his message thanks to those active practitioners of orthopaedics that the analysts of the second and third generation became. the unconscious is manifested to us as something that holds itself in suspense in the area. he writes. at this stage in my life. in stitching up this gap. without always being able to bring them up to the light of day. go back and trace the concept of the unconscious through the 23 . as Freud had quite clearly foreseen. that gap of which I have already spoken. for some time now. At first. One can never be sure that what one says on this matter will have no harmful effect—even what I have been able to say about it over the last ten years owes some of its impact to this fact. or dereistic. of the unborn. if we are to understand what it means in psycho-analysis. to be besieged—I mean really—by those in whom he has invoked this world of shades. like the same anatomical navel that it. It is not without effect that. we must. in the locus in which this gap is produced. one directs one's attention at subjects. I myself never re-open it without great care.

The Freudian unconscious has nothing to do with the socalled forms of the unconscious that preceded it. and which still surround it today. open the Lalande dictionary. Or read the delightful list provided by Dwelshauvers in a book published some forty years ago. who provides a link with the terms of the romantic unconscious. This locus is no doubt not entirely unrelated to the locus towards which Freud turns his gaze—but the fact that Jung. we must look more closely at it if we are to discover in what way Freud's unconscious is to be distinguished from it. is sufficient indication that psycho-analysis is introducing something other. and which simply designate the non-conscious. to something preconscious. heterodite unconscious that Edward von Hartmann spent his life elaborating is not Freud's unconscious. the more or less conscious. we can say that the hold-all. for Freud. should have been repudiated by Freud. It is not the locus of the divinities of night. Freud's unconscious is not at all the romantic unconscious of imaginative creation. Read. which thus loses what seemed to be its privilege. Similarly. ever more or less linked to some obscure will regarded as primordial. To all these forms of unconscious. in the seventh chapter of The Interpretation of Dreams. not to say accompanied it. himself referred to it in a footnote—that is to say. 24 . though it is evident in everything that Freud wrote. but we should not be over-hasty.THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION various stages of the process in which Freud elaborated it —since we can complete that process only by carrying it to its limits. called 'Forgetting in Dreams'. one finds hundreds of additional varieties. for example. In it he lists ten or so forms of the uncon- scious that will tell nobody anything that he did not already know. concerning which Freud merely refers to the play of the signifier. the paragraph of that seventh chapter of The Interpretation of Dreams. To understand what I mean. what Freud opposes is the revelation that at the level of the unconscious there is something at all points homologous with what occurs at the level of the subject—this thing speaks and functions in a way quite as elaborate as at the level of the conscious.—in the ever-expanding field of psychology. I am well aware of the resistances that this simple remark can still provoke. etc.

split. in parapraxis. but of a strange temporality. it is always ready to again. This discovery is. ten to be found again' finds its best application here. surprise. that peculiar accent that Theodor Reik has brought out so admirably—only brought out. drawn from mythology. In this respect. which. in relation to what he expected. Now. if you will allow me to add a touch of irony. we have. is always unique. furthermore. What occurs. must we place it—as was later the tendency with analysts—against the background of a totality? 25 . I have spelt out to you point by point the functioning of what was first produced for us by Freud as the phenomenon of the unconscious. then. Discontinuity. It is in this way that the Freudian exploration first encounters what occurs in the unconscious. something other demands to be realized—which appears as intentional. as soon as it is presented.THE FREUDIAN UNCONSCIOUS AND OURS I will not content myself with this portentous reference. Now. by which he finds both more and less than he expected—but. In a spoken or written sentence something stumbles. and it is there that he seeks the unconscious. a solution—no necessarily a complete one. is presented as the discooerj. Impediment. however incomplete it that touches us. in Eurydice twice lost. as everyone knows. but. in the development of Freud's discovery. what is produced. the unconscious finds itself. c of course. for Freud certainly noted it before him—namely. thus establishing To resort to a metaphor. it is. on the opposite side to love. inaugural character. In the dream. the expression 'one lost. There. the most potent image we can find of the relation between Orpheus the analyst and the unconscious. this discovery becomes a rediscovery and. failure. of exceptional value. Freud is attracted by these phenomena. at the same time. that by which the subject feels himself overcome. in which something is manifested as a vacillation. in the flash of wit —what is it that strikes one first? It is the sense of impediment to be found in all of them. in any case. is the essential form in which the unconscious first appears to us as a phenomenon—discontinuity. in this gap. if this \ discontinuity has this absolute. strictly speaking.

c—smooth. Here we find again the basic structure that makes it possible. in an Imperative. in an invocation. like myceium. Oblivium is that Oblivium is which effaces—effaces what? The signifier as such. The Unbewussie is Freud's 'unconscious'. and in the sense that. you will avoid If you keep hold of this giving yourself up to some partial aspect of the question of the unconscious—as. 1 Lacan is playing on the French un (one) and the German negative prefix un. that it is the subject. a6 . at the level at which everything at blossoms in the unconscious spreads. as Freud says about dream. but on the contrary makes the silence emerge as silence. for example. moving from 'oneness' to 'negation'. up a misunderstood form of the At this un. that is to say. in so far as. according to the sentences. even in a hesitation it is always the unconscious that presents you with its m a. the stroke of the opening makes abseiice emerge—just as the cry does not stand out against a b ground of silence. in an interjection. a sort of double of the organism in which this false unity is thought to reside. in an operatory way. it is in the dimension of a synchrony that you must situate the unconscious—at the level of a being. Lacan's gloss. of the stroke. Let us say that the limit of the e UnBegrzj—not the non-concept. and everything that I have taught in recent years has tended to exclude this need for a closed one—a mirage to which is attached the reference to the enveloping psyche. at the level of the subject of the enunciation. but in the sense that it can spread over everything. but the conUnbewuss cept of ac Wher is the background? Is it Rupture. around a central point. according to the modes. and speaks—in short. You will see that.t. You will grant me that the one that is introduced by the experience of the unconscious is the one of the split.(!pji. for something to take on the function of barring. on Unbegrsjshifts the notion of 'negation' into one of 'lack' (Translator's note]. It is always a question of the subject qua indeterminate. more radically. of rupture. the Un of the Unbewussie.g THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION to discontinuity? I do not think so. qua at the level at which the syncope of alienated in his discourse is joined with his desire.

THE FREUDIAN UNCONSCIOUS AND OURS striking out another thing. This is a more primordial level. read Freud's conversation in the train—where only the end of sexual potency is referred to. Herr and Frau Such-and-such have pleasure in announcing the birth of a child as beautiful as liberty—and Dr Hoffmann. of the suppression. I once said. the censor. personally. And it is perhaps against the background of the same reasons. passes underneath—the absolute master. behind this. this operatory element of effacement is what Freud designates. of the Unterdruckung. namely. at the beginning of the Book of Germany. from the outset. the passing underneath? The term Signor. do we not see. Let us turn again to an example that has never been sufficiently exploited. which is in no sense a declaration of theism. his forgetting. structurally speaking. Well. strikes out the word Certainly one may ask oneself what effect this word can have as a result of this strictly material censorship. Furthermore. For the myth of the God is dead—which. that God is dead. the Russian censorship. see Heinrich Heine. the first used by Freud to demonstrate his theory. It is the censorship by scissors. it is to be found in Nietzsche. of which we shall speak later. the emergence of that which forced Freud to find in the myths of the death of the father the regulation of his desire? After all. in his own myth. not metaphor. nor of faith in the resurrection—perhaps this myth is simply a shelter against the threat of castration. But it is certainly here that the dynamism of the unconscious operates in the most efficient way. his inability to remember the word Signorelli after his visit to the paintings at Orvieto. or again the German censorship. Is it possible not to see emerging from the text itself. but the reality of the disappearance. you will see this threat in the apocalyptic frescos of Orvieto cathedral. as a myth of course. If not. Herr. Freud's interlocutor. has disappeared there. than most contemporary intellectuals. and establishing itself. who declares. If you know how to read them. I feel much less sure about. than repression. which is in fact death. 27 . in the function of the censor. but that is another problem. a doctor—the same interlocutor in fact before whom he is unable to remember the name Signorelli—is describing to Freud the dramatic character that a loss of potency usually has for his patients.

As you see.THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION Thus The unconscious is always manifested as that which vacillates in a split in the subject. I have decided to stop my seminar always at a particular time. I would say that Freud would certainly have made a perfect impassioned idealist had he not devoted himself to the other. that. the question—What does a woman want?—remained unanswered. I have not managed today to deal fully with the function of the unconscious. his uxorious character. in the form of the hysteric. He never resolved this question. for him. (Qjsestions and answers are missing. as Jones rather delicately puts it. from which emerges a discovery that Freud compares with desire—a desire that we will temporarily situate in the denuded metonymy of the discourse in question. to a woman of his acquaintance. at twenty-to-two. as we can see from what was in fact his relations with women. despite all his efforts to understand.) 22 January 1964 28 . As far as Freud and his relation to the father are concerned. let us not forget that. where the subject surprises himself in some unexpected way. he was forced to admit.

he questioned me as to my ontology. It came at a particularly good point. 29 . I hope he did not think that I found the question at all inappropriate. speaking of the function of desire. Having made this synopsis. Cartesian The desire of the hjsteric Last week. it being the most essential. namely. The is ethical . by which I thought I had to introduce. as the structuring function of a lack. the function of the unconscious.3 OF THE SUBJECT OF CERTAINTY Neither being. to give an excellent outline of what he recognized. to the discoverers. in that when speaking of this gap one is dealing with an ontological function. a 'want-to-be'. status of the Freud. Jacques-Main Miller. Nevertheless. I would go further. that it does not lend itself to ontology. my introduction of the unconscious through the structure of a gap provided an opportunity for one of my listeners. I was able to answer him only within the limits imposed on dialogue by the time-table. nor non-being Finitude of desireS The elusive. I have designated as manque-a-ltre. and I ought to have obtained from him to begin with a more specific definition of what he means by the term ontology. That all theorj has to be revised. I have stressed that all too often forgotten characteristic— forgotten in a way that is not without significance—of the first emergence of the unconscious. to those who made the first steps. I The gap of the unconscious may be said to be pre-ontological. and by an audacious arch he linked this up with what. at least for those who already had some idea of my teaching. which has certainly not been without its uses. in my previous writings. Indeed. what became apparent at first to Freud.

for example. a classification that would certainly like to be thought a natural one. it is not in this direction that our experience has led us. not to say aberrant. I mentioned the function of limbo. any concern in the analytic circle of today with what have been called—significantly enough. Freud does touch on these facts. are called the intermediary beings—sylphs. whose sampling is limited to a register that has become a catalogue raisonné. in the constructions of the Gnostics. with a few rare exceptions. Certainly. necromantic practice. One may regard as exceptional. even of spiritist. nor non-being. elegant reduction. on the contrary. I am referring to such research as that of Servadio. in the register of a traditional psychology. But it is clear that his theorization was moving towards a rationalist. gnomes. Of course. in passing. in order to sterilize them—the psi phenomena. but to a lesser degree than in the period of Freudian discovery—of meta-psychical research. but the unrealized. its threat is completely forgotten after sixty years of experience. did not. invocatory. is that it is neither being. and still so today. form any serious alliance with that whole world— then so prevalent. as did the Gothic psychology of Myers. let us not forget that when Freud began to disturb this world. But it is also revealing that what seemed so evidently to be an opening on to a lower world.THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION and what still becomes apparent to anyone in analysis who spends some time observing what truly belongs to the order to the unconscious. The result of our research into the unconscious moves. in so far as they were borne in upon him by experience. but remarkably enough. he gave voice to the line Flectere si nequeo superos Acheronta movebo. and even higher forms of these ambiguous mediators. as one used to say. in the direction of a certain desiccation. I might also have spoken of what. It is remarkable that what was thought to be an infernal opening should later have been so remarkably asepticized. infinite character of human desire —seeing in it the mark of some divine slipper that has left its imprint on it— 30 . which strove to follow up the fact of telepathy. Furthermore. It seemed heavy with disturbing apprehensions when he pronounced it. a reduction to a herbarium. If. stress is laid on the uncontrollable.

its limit. not pleasure. that in wishing to introduce distinctions so essential that they are emerging everywhere except in our discipline. This repudiation. finds its boundary. and it is in the relation. for reasons of context. Freud declares that it is nevertheless indestructible. on the subject of religion. Our technical habits have become—for reasons that will have to be analysed —so touchy about the functions of time. is for a moment brought into the light of day— a moment because the second stage. you know. whose adventure in our field seems so short. in a necessarily approximate way. Now. to spatio-temporal location and also to the function of time. which is one of closing up. when discussing the primary process—that what happens there is inaccessible to contradic- tion. not having been able to so far. We shall come back to all this. illusion. being able at first to use it only in hesitant touches here and there. It is apparent that the very level of the definition of the un- conscious—to refer only to what Freud says about it. its strict relation. meets its limit somewhere. of what he called the oceanic aspiration does not stem from a personal prejudice of Freud Our experience is there to reduce this aspiration to a phantasy. more than any other point in the range of human possibility. it seemed that I was under an obligation to embark on a more or less defensive discussion. I will come back to this —it may be even the step that I will be able to cross now.io this limit that it is sustained as such. gives this apprehension a vanishing aspect. Desire. although desire merely conveys what it maintains of an image of the past towards an ever short and limited future. What is ontic in the function of the unconscious is the split through which that something. but I would point out that I said desire. crossing the threshold imposed by the pleasure principle. on the other hand. into the field of reigioussentimentality. Notice that in the term indestructible. to provide us with firm foundations elsewhere and to relegate it to the place occupied by what Freud called. Desire. Pleasure limits the scope of human possibility—the pleasure principle is a principle of homeostasis. • The context is an urgent one. it is precisely the most inconsistent 3' .OF THE SUBJECT OF CERTAINTY what analytic experience enables us to declare is rather the limited function of desire.

it can be said. Too often. the initial and the terminal of this logical time—between the instant of seeing. and I am here to show you this year in what way these displacements of interest have always been more in the direction of uncovering structures. when it is always a question of an 'absorption' fraught with false trails (tine leurrie). in an identical \ state. when reading the best theoretical work that analysts bring from their experience. the transference. 2 Since Freud himself. which are badly described in analysis. a temporal structure. We find here once again the rhythmic structure of this pulsation of the slit whose function I referred to last time. for a certain time? Is not this the place to distinguish in addition to duration. Ontically. from which we see co-existing the most fragmentary and the most illuminating evidence. in fact. The appearance/disappearance takes place between two points. has never yet been articulated as such. the substance of things. when something of the intuition itself is always elided. concluded. We have concerned ourselves with other things. namely. the development of the analytic experience has shown nothing but disdain for what appears in the gap.THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION reality of all that is affirmed. in total confusion. the unconscious is the elusive—but we are beginning to circumscribe it in a structure. another mode of time —a logical time? You know that I have already touched one of my essays. I shall demonstrate this for you in due course when dealing with something that is of the most vital importance in our experience. one has the feeling that it has to be interpreted. to what register does it belong in the order of things? For what is a thing. and of which one speaks almost as a prophet. not to say lost. We have not—according to the comparison that Freud uses at a particular turning-point of The Interpretation of Dreams—fed with blood the shades that have emerged from it. for others 32 . then. This explains why I can proceed only step by step. if not that which endures. and that elusive moment when the apprehension of the unconscious is not. If indestructible desire escapes from time. which.

from its origin—marked by the sign of deception. this unconscious reveals itseffi And he says this on the basis of In his thirst for truth. for the physician. something that was always formulated somewhat belatedly. said. which is so elusive. including the question of the desire of the hysteric. I am not saying that this is untrue. his experience of what was. because. astonishing as the formula may seem to you. Of course. in so far as it is —in a sense. is given to the unconscious by the procedure of The status of the unconscious. There is the countrj where I shall take mjpeople. so unsubstantial. But soon. This imposes on us a sort of retro- active leap if we wish to mark here the essence of Freud's 33 . It is quite common. by the discontinuity constituted by the fact that one man. what was situated in this field appeared marked with the characteristics of its original discovery—the desire of the hysteric. I am obliged to go through this explanation at the outset. repetition—at the level of the transference. is so fragile on the ontir pl Freud says. As a result. the most rejected. I am not saying that it is not on the basis of his experience of the transference that Freud approached repetition has What I am concept of to do with the concept of the transference. which. this led us to many other things in the field in which we were taken by this initial approach. Because of this confusion. that of the hysteric. I would now like to make clear. that its status of being. For a long time. to lay down the necessary logical steps. for example. Freud. a discoverer. I must go there. For to follow chronology would be to encourage the ambiguities of the concept of repetition that derive from the fact that its discovery took place in the course of the first hesitant steps necessitated by the experience of the transference.OF THE SUBJECT OF CERTAINTY will speak to you of what I am dealing with here—the unconscious. the most contained. as I have shown. and say that it is all a question of that. This was because the theory had been forged only for the discoveries that preceded it. somewhere. up to that time. or that there is not an element of repetition in the transference. something quite different made itself felt. everything has to be revised. to hear it said that the transference is a form of repetition. the most concealed. Whatever it is. as the discovery proceeded. reality.

As he is falling asleep. of all those that are analysed in the book. which Freud couples with the myth of Oedipus? The father. can't)ou see I'm burning? In fact. if not from the place from which he denounces his brother for surprising him and cutting him off in the full flower of his sins? And far from 34 . of sustaining the theory according to which the dream is the image of a desire with an example in which. when he opens the last chapter of The Interpretation of Dreams with the dream which. borne by the ghost in the myth of Hamlet. the Name-of-the-father. can't jou see I'm burning? What is he burning with. if not to suggest a mystery that is simply the world of the beyond. it is precisely a reality which. This image. if not with that which we see emerging at other points designated by the Freudian topology. the son really is burning. in the next room. who says to him. Where does Hamlet's ghost emerge from. And what I have said about the thirst for truth that animated him is a mere indication of the approaches that will enable us to ask ourselves where Freud's passion lay.THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION position concerning that which occurs in the field of the unconscious. Father. requires some modification. What is the point. seems here to be shaking the dreamer from his sleep? Why. incompletely transferred. the weight of the sins of the father. it is precisely because Freud foèiizot stress it when he gives the unconscious its status. If I am formulating here that the status of the unconscious is ethical. and some secret or other shared by the father and the son who says to him. Freud shows that he is very well aware how fragile are the veils of the unconscious where this register is concerned. his sin. in a sort of flamboyant reflection. of his dead son. I am not being impressionistic when I say that Freud's approach here is ethical—I am not thinking of the legendary courage of the scientist who recoils before nothing. that which links a father to the corpse of his son close by. then. the father sees rise up before him the image of the son. Father. and not ontic. like all the others. is in a category of its own—a dream suspended around the most anguishing mystery. namely. sustains the structure of desire with the structure of the law— but the inheritance of the father is that which Kierkegaard designates for us. namely.

to stick to a formula that is no more prudent than his. then. and the value of its transmission by the subject. Everything is within reach. in this example that Freud places here in order to indicate in some way that he does not exploit it. in effect. for this something that is to be preserved may also be the something that has to be shown —since. this too ideal father is constantly being doubted. shows itself only under a Verkleidung. what is shown.OF THE SUBJECT OF CERTAINTY providing Hamlet with the prohibitions of the Law that would allow his desire to survive. I And who would not have doubts about the transmission of the dream when. a and an ill-fitting one it often is. in any case. is a sign of resistance. the first thing to be done is to overcome that which connotes anything to do with the content of the unconscious —especially when it is a question of extracting it from the experience of the dream—to overcome that which floats everywhere. Doubt. stains. The major term. converge. 35 . But. It is Gewissheit. The question is—of what can one be certain? With this aim. I am. is not truth. the I think—bj virtue of thinking. nevertheless. the text of any dream communication—I am not sure. in fact. doubt. certainty. I am sure that I think. that which marks. and embarks on a discussion concerning the forgetting of the dream. savours it. but which will save us from getting caught up in the cogito. I must insist on the fact that there is a point at which the two approaches of Descartes and Freud come together. he says. that there is something to preserve. Yet the function he gives to doubt remains ambiguous. This discussion centres entirely around a certain number of terms that need to be stressed. He goes on to explain why—this is precisely the sign. that he weighs it. Descartes tells us—Bj virtue of the fact that I doubt. It is from this most fascinating point that he deflects our attention. there is such an obvious gap between what was experienced and what is recounted? Now—and it is here that Freud lays all his stress—doubt is the support of his certainty. emerging. and—I would say. that he appreciates it. Freud's method is Cartesian—in the sense that he sets out from the basis of the subject of certainty. spots.

Freud. that can permit ourselves everything as a hypothesis of truth? 36 . in this instance the perfect God. and it is he who. when he doubts—for they are dreams. guarantee by its very existence the bases of truth. but I will develop it in the discussion—what the I think is directed towards. which is unconscious. which \ means that it reveals itself as absent. into the bargain. guarantee him that there are in his own objective reason the necessary foundations for the very real. implicitly—a fact that he forgets. I will return to this later. It is because Freud declares the certainty of the unconscious that the progress by which he changed the world for us was made. it is to this place that he summons the I think through which the subject will reveal himseffi In short. it would have been true. doubts—is assured that a thought is there. in the initial cogito —the Cartesians will grant me this point. that the door is open to set theory. would always be the truth—even if he had said that two and two make five. reud and Descartes It is here that the dissymmetry betw is revealed. about whose existence he has just re-assured himself. I avoid the discussion that results from the fact that this Ithink. whatever he might have meant. he is sure that this thought is there alone with I am. if not of an Other that is not deceptive. For Descartes. provided. and this is in his place. As soon as he comes to deal with others. It is not in the initial method of certainty grounded on the subject. But the true remains so much outside that Descartes then has to re-assure himself—of what. to find the dimension of truth. for us. if not that we will be able to begin playing with the small algebraic letters that transform geometry into analysis. and which shall. if I may someone thinks put it like this. certainly cannot be detached from the fact that he can formulate it only by sajing it to us. since. What does this imply. is a real. In a precisely similar way. in so far as it lurches into the Jam. It stems from the fact that the subject is 'at home' in this field of the unconscious. at the outset.THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION Note in passing that in avoiding the I think. whose truth is the nub of the matter. I can do no more than suggest the extraordinary consequences that have stemmed from this handing back of truth into the hands of the Other.

in the famous case of a female homosexual. that it thinks before it attains certainty. that we will make a mistake (nous nous trompions).OF THE SUBJECT OF CERTAINTY But let us leave this—it is not our business. he pokes fun at those who. Later. the evaluation of what is sure and what is not sure. it is obvious. she has dreams on purpose to convince you that she was returning to what was asked of her. thanks to Freud. What he means is that the unconscious may operate in the direction of deception. And this is something that we are aware of in the most concrete way as soon as we enter the experience of analysis. it is now a field to which we cannot refuse ourselves entry—at least as far as the question it poses is concerned. S I would now like to stress that the correlative of the subject is henceforth no longer the deceiving Other. except that it involved the subject of a certainty and the rejection of all previous knowledge—but we know. a liking for men. Freud sees no objection to this. But in any case. on condition that we know what the term subject means. This is what we're left with. especially when one reads the first paragraph of the chapter on forgetting in dreams—the signs intersect. to a divine truth? they ask sarcastically. one must take everything into account. he says. frei machen oneself of the whole scale of the evaluation that is sought there. on the subject of his patient's dreams can say to him: But where is this unconscious that is supposed to bring us to the truth. that we are people who could make a mistake like anybody else. and that this does not in any way 37 . since. one must free oneself. Descartes did not know. or more simply. The slightest indication that something is entering the field should make us regard it as of equal value as a trace in relation to the subject. Preisschdtzung. Now. What the subject fears most is to mislead us (nous tromper). this does not bother Freud because—it is precisely this that one must understand. is not the dream. The unconscious. for. to put us on a wrong track. in analysis. he tells us. just to look at us. It's certainly our problem. Tour patient is just laughing at you. that the subject of the unconscious manifests itself. but the deceived Other. after all. except in so far as we know that what begins at the level of the subject is never without consequence.

that is. This is why—in each case. in the case of Dora. as a means of situating it at its correct level—man's desire is the desire of the Other—it is in the desire of the father that the female homosexual finds another solution. Jam lying? It is simply that Freud. If you re-read the case. you will see the obviously provocative character of the whole behaviour of this girl who. the passage a l'acte— breaking off the relationship by striking him. subsisting—both the desire of the father whom she favoured qua impotent and her own desire of being unable to realize herself qua desire of the Other. but. Furthermore. contrary to the supposed paradox. whose attentions to herself she accepts. to declare. he is himself still hesitant—a little too early. constantly made show of the chivalrous attentions she paid the girl until one day. a little too late. which in any case was unsatisfied. and this once again justifies the formula I have given.. the formula that originated in the experience of the hysteric.THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION count as an objection for him. meeting her father—what she meets in the father's gaze is unconcern. to defy the desire of the father. is precisely the game by which she must sustain the man's desire. to sustain it by procuring. contempt for what is happening in front of him— she immediately throws herself over the railing of a local rail38 . Similarly. and the treatment was broken off. failed to formulate correctly what was the object both of the hysteric's desire and of the female homosexual's desire. in the case of Dora as well as in the famous case of the female homosexual—he allowed himself to be overwhelmed. With regard to his interpretation. Dora's obvious complaisance in the father's adventure with the woman who is the wife of Herr K. says to her not. on this occasion. Indeed. dogging the footsteps of some demi-mondaine whom she had found in the town. I am not interested in my wzfe—shows that it was necessary for her that the link should be preserved with that third element that enabled her to see the desire. Freud could not yet see —for lack of those structural reference-points that I hope to bring out for you—that the hysteric's desire— which is legible in the most obvious way in the case—is to sustain the desire of the father—and. how could there not be truth about lying—that truth which makes it perfectly possible. Jam not interested in you. as soon as Herr K. disregard.

but even this miss is QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS X: Are not logical time and time-substance identical? LACAN: Logical time is constituted by three stages. I have developed this introduction in such detail so that you may distinguish the exact position of the Freudian approach to the subject—in so far as it is the subject that is concerned in the field of the unconscious. is still an act of defiance in relation to the father's Tou want me to love men. situated as that which the subject is condemned to Imss. one must set out with the presupposition that from the outset the signiFjing battery is given. an abstract. the arbitrary. This is merely a reminder. with a view to the interpretation of dreams. Freud considers. In this way. heroic. as repetition of deception. In order to understand logical time. necessitated. Next time. as we shall see. chance. the consequences of the chance of transcrip- tion. and the arbitrary nature of the links made—why link this with that. although correctly enough defined in the psychological experience of the intellectual operation that is called insight. with a real that will henceforth be situated in the field ofscjçnce. unique phallus. by asking ourselves how it should be conceived. in deceiving Freud. by the function of repetition— Willkür.OF THE SUBJECT OF CERTAINTY way bridge. Freud coordinates experience. we shall approach the concept of repetition. that of showing the father how one is. On this basis. rather than with something else? Freud certainly brings us here to the heart of the question posed by the modern 39 . of the function she had. Secondly. Literally. qua deceiving. she can no longer conceive. the moment to conclude. you will have as many dreams about love of men as you wish. and Zufall. the moment of seeing—which is not without mystery. It is defiance in the form of derision. I have distinguished the function of the subject of certainty from the search for the truth. Thirdly. devoted to the service of a lady. What the female homosexual does in her dream. the stage of understanding. First. oneself. We shall see how by means of repetition. other than by destroying herself. two terms are to be introduced. In this way.

says Freud—a moment when he feels he has the courage to judge and to conclude. no doubt. he encounters limits. We will see later how we can formulate it by referring to Aristotle's Physics. is a category that belongs only to the register of the signifier. it can be obtained more completely by other ways than analysis. and bound up with a signifying shaping of the real. From the one to the other. Non-commutativity. if not that one's bearings are already laid down.THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION development of the sciences. It is simply that they are not commutative —to begin by remembering in order to deal with the resistances of repetition is not the same thing as to begin by repetition in order to tackle remembering. but they are inoperant as far as cure is concerned. It is on the basis of this reduction that it operates. Experience later shows that where the subject is concerned. resistance. Remembering always involves a limit. 40 . And. and that a moment to conclude may appear. in effect. can be grounded on chance—the calculation of chances. in effect. Freud reduces everything that comes within reach of his hearing to the function of pure signifiers. This is part of what I have called his ethical witness. What is the value of an operation of this kind. strategies—that does not involve at the outset a limited structuring of the situation. It is here that we must distinguish the scope of these two directions. each meets the other with the maximum chances of winning on condition that each reasons in the same way as the other. remembering and repetition. When modern games theory elaborates the strategy of the two partners. in terms of signiflers. in a second stage. This enables us to grasp by what means the order of the unconscious appears. in resolving by elaborating the function of repetition. It is this that shows us that the time-function is of a logical order here. in so far as they demonstrate what we can ground on chance. Nothing. there is no more temporal orientation than there is reversibility. To what does Freud refer it? What is its surety? it is what he succeeds. the signifying reference-points of the problem are already marked in it and the solution will never go beyond them? Well! As far as the unconscious is concerned. which are non-conviction. non-cure.

What justifies this trust is a reference to the real. can confirm in the subject what occurs in the unconscious? In order to locate the truth—I have shown you this in studying the formations of the unconscious—Freud relies on a certain scansion. KAUFMANN: Last Jear. 29 January 1964 4' .OF THE SUBJECT OF CERTAINTY P. to take it in small doses. so that one is not overcome by it. Can link this statement with and certainçy? LACAN: For analysis. The real supports the phantasy. I shall take Spinoza's cogitation. The exceptional importance of this case in Freud's work is to show that it is in relation to the real that the level of phantasy functions. In experience. it is necessary to canalize it and. the real does not come to him easily. This is a difficulty similar to that of bringing the subject into contact with the real—a term that I shall try to define next time in order to dissipate the ambiguity that still persists about it in the minds of many of my pupils. for the analyst. but I shall bring into play another term to replace the attribute. But anxiety may be lacking. if I may say so. Next time. the phantasy protects the real. Take the example of the Wolf Man. jou declared that anxietj is that which does not deceive. But to say the least. by way of elucidating this relation for you. anxiety is a crucial term of reference. because in effect anxiety is that which does not deceive. What.

!ycho-anal. that we call winter sports. The left hand must not know what the right hand is doing. the as it is custom to defray the travelling expenses of its memthey come and concern themselves very closely in the bers of our Association. It so happens that just as I was declining the opportunity of leaving my deposit with the travel agency. Association has defrayed the expenses of this journey. I can also announce another event that I am happy to bring to the knowledge of a wider public. the lack of snow having given me an excuse to give up this obligation. by reciprocity. for they had received a booking from eight members of the French P. I am pleased to announce that this will not be the case this year. This is a very praiseworthy concern and the said Association is willing to make any sacrifice for the of its members. Eight of the most eminent members of the teaching section of the Association are now in London to discuss ways of warding off the effects of my teaching. I was warmly thanked. Chance so has it that. an action of the kind to which one may well apply the words of the Gospel. unless. The colophon of doubt• Subversion of the subject Introduction to repetition. perhaps.tic Association. by virtue of this fact. The real is comes back to the same place that which always It has been my habit to absent myself for the period of two of my seminars in order to go to that mode of ritual rest.4 OF THE NETWORK OF SIGNIFIERS Thoughts of the unconscious. spent in accordance with our customs. I must say that it gives me all the more pleasure to bring this event to your notice as it is what is called a truly good act. 42 .

I saw a profound link between this cut and the function as such of the subject. the need to disappear that seems to be in some sense inherent in it—everything that. of the subject in its constituent relation to the signifier It seems something of a new departure—and it is—that I should have referred to the subject when speaking of the unconscious. relation with the function of the concept of the Unbegnf—or Begrzf of the original Un. which—from the Cartesian experience reducing to a single point the ground of inaugural certainty—has taken on an Archimedic value. inaugural. not by what the consciousness may evoke.OF THE NETWORK OF SIGNIFIERS I thought I had to make this announcement so that the paeons of gratitude might hide the few signs of nervousness that have probably appeared in connection with this expedition. I have constantly stressed in my preceding statements the pulsative function. What does he now tell us about the unconscious? He declares that it is constituted essentially. initial. namely. but this time in a different direction that we shall call the conjectural science of the subject. if indeed that really was the point of application that made possible the quite different direction that science has taken. to vanish. he began to move forward with truly unprecedented boldness. by a sort of pre-emption. in the place of the subject. for a moment. I have formulated the hope that 'through this may be renewed the trenchant. And what does Freud call this? He calls it by the same term by 43 . I spoke to you about the concept of the unconscious. to close up again as Freud himself used this metaphor. I thought I had succeeded in making you feel that all this happens in the same place. of the unconscious. the cut. appears in its slit seems to be destined. When Freud realized that it was in the field of the dream that he had to find confirmation of what he had learnt from his experience of the hysteric. decisive crystallization that has already been produced in the physical sciences. This is less paradoxical than might at first appear. whose true function is precisely that of being in profound. out of the subliminal. to At the same time. namely. that initiated by Newton. but by that which is. I Last time. extend. as it were. essentially.

Le moi doit dIloger le ça (the ego must dislodge the id). Descartes apprehends his I think in the enunciation of the I doubt. in the days when we stili had a typography. which is a myth. and it is impossible to represent these thoughts other than in the same homology of determination in which the subject of the I think finds himself in relation to the articulation of the I doubt. in the margin. the association. The ancients recognized all kinds of things in dreams. is that small pointing hand that used to be printed. anyway—perhaps you will glimpse this in what I shall 44 . a confused nebulosity—since it was Descartes who did this. That is why I compare it to the Cartesian method. Everything provides material. which is what he depends on to establish his own Gewissheit—for I stress that experience begins only with his method. in an old text. There are thoughts in this field of the beyond of consciousness. the commentary. soil Ich werden. his only in the constellation of the signifiers as they result from the recounting. See how Freud—and in a formula worthy in resonance of the pre-Socratics—is translated in French. Wo es war. the dream. as some execrable translation would have it. The colophon of doubt is part of the text. And.THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION which Descartes designates what I just called his point of application—Gedanken. thoughts. jou are at home. This does not mean. that is to say. where it was. the fact is that throughout Freud's work—one must. It is not a question of the ego in this soil Ich werden. of course. Shall I say that Freud makes one more step—which designates for us sufficiently the legitimacy of our association—when he invites us to integrate in the text of the dream what I shall call the colophon of doubt—the colophon. in the field of the dream. This indicates that Freud places his certainty. I am not saying that Freud introduces the subject into the world—the subject as distinct from psychical function. where it has always been. the subject. including. which is new—Here. But I am saying that Freud addresses the subject in order to say to him the following. on occasion. even if they are later retracted. recognize its proper place—the Ich is the complete. not in its statement. total locus of the network of signifiers. which still bears all of this knowledge to be put in doubt. messages from the gods—and why not? The ancients made something of these messages from the gods.

one it always in the same way. for it is crosschecked in such a waj that it escapes chance. Perhaps the voice of the gods makes itself heard. must come into existence. experience I have observed nothing arbitrarj in this field. function? Freud deduces 45 . Well. to map the network. when Freud establishes his second topography. the network in which. one's certainty. otherwise how could one conceive it in the way it is presented to us? That is. how do the Wahrnehmungszeichen. What concerns us is the that envelops these messages. the gods may still speak through dreams. I don't mind either way. in which the place of the Other is situated. to return to the letter to Fliess. it wnc—I anticipate 4 But the subject is there to rediscover —the real. and in this seventh chapter of The Interpretation of Dreams there is no other confirmation for one's Gewissheit. anatomical locus. You know that these two elements will later. a spatial.OF THE NETWORK OF SIGNIFIERS say later—who knows. Personally. form the perception— consciousness system. And there is only one method of knowing that one is there. the traces of perception. not psychology—the subject. Where it was. but it is a long time since men lent their ears to them in their original state—it is well known that the ears are made not to hear with. quite intentionally. in The Interpretation of Dreams. a special spectre. than this—Speak of chance. in which the subject is constituted. In m. something is caught. And how is a network mapped? One goes back and forth over one's ground. the Wahrnehmung—Bewusstsein. the formula— The gods belong to the field of S/is real. as an immense display. namely. is called optical. I will justify what I have just said in a little while. permeable to something analogous to light whose refraction changes from layer to layer. which comments on the schema that later. the Ich—the subject. gentlemen. one crosses one's path. This model represents a number of layers. I would remind those who have already attended my lectures on this subject of letter fifty-two to Fliess. situated between perception and consciousness. This is the locus where the affair of the subject of the unconscious is played out. but one should not then forget the interval that separates them. on occasion. And it is not. ifjou like. but those who have been listening to me for some time know t that I use. says Freud.

Freud shows clearly that. where the pre-relations between the primary process and that part of it that will be used at the level of the are established. we read it before formulating our theory of the signifier. which is introduced by a diachrony. But we can immediately give to these Wahrnehmungszeichen their true name of signzjlers. And our reading makes it quite clear that Freud. It is no doubt through the particular necessities of our experience that we have set at the heart of the structure of the unconscious but the fact that we have found an enigmatic. because we must move on today. have a relation with causal itj. and reciprocally. designates still other layers. I won't elaborate this point too much. What is this time. For the subject of certainty is divided here —it is Freud who has certainty. What we have here are those functions of contrast and similitude so essential in the constitution of metaphor. The signifiers were able to constitute themselves in simultaneity only by virtue of a very defined structure of constituent diachrony. All indications cross-check one another and these checkings assure us too that we are rediscovering Freud— though we do not know whether it is here that we shall find our Ariadne's thread. 46 .THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION from his experience the need to make an absolute separation between perception and consciousness—in order for these traces of perception to pass into memory. when he comes back to this locus in The Interpretation of Dreams. if not signifying synchrony? And. to understand it. He then designates a time when these Wahrnehmungszeichen must be constituted in simultaneity. But I would like to say that we find in Freud's articulations a quite unambiguous indication that what is involved in this synchrony is not only a network formed by random and contiguous associations. Freud says this all the more in that he does not know that he is saying it fifty years before the linguists. at the level of the last layer of the unconscious. The diachrony is orientated by the structure. for us. for the moment. in which the traces are constituted this time by analogy. unexplained indication of it in Freud's text is for us a sign that we are progressing in the way of his certainty. but without being able. because. of course. he says. where the diaphragm functions. of course. they must first be effaced in perception. there can be no such thing as a It must.

Opposite his certainty. It is the subject who is called— there is only he. when science arises. the function of 47 . nor some shade. in so far as modern science began only after Descartes made his inaugural step. something humble. It is not the soul. who. There may be. of the languages spoken in a stuttering. as in the parable. is called recollection or remembering. As you saw with the notion of cross-checking. who can be chosen. but there will certainly not be any others except those who are called. one day. therefore. one must set out on the basis that it is the subject who is called—the subject of Cartesian origin. either mortal or immortal. In order to understand the Freudian concepts. style can be found. there is the subject. be reduced.OF THE NETWORK OF SIGNIFIERS 2 This brings us to the heart of the problem that I am raising. It is on this step that depends the fact that one can call upon the subject to re-enter himself in the unconscious—for. curiously enough. But if everything that is written as analytic literature is not mere buffoonery. in contemporary mathematics. the locus of the defences and other such simplified notions. This basis gives its true function to what. It is something that comes to us from the structural necessities. many called and few chosen. a eidos of beauty and good. it always functions as such—which poses the question as to whether this pedicle might. I dare to state as a truth that the Freudian field was possible only a certain time after the emergence of the Cartesian subject. born at the level of the lowest encounters and of all the talking crowd that precedes us. as I said just now. at the level of the structure of the signifier. but which cannot elude constraints whose echoes. stumbling way. is that. in analysis. an imprint. a master is always present.asupreme truth. which is discussed in the T/zeaetetus. here and now. has been waiting there since Descartes. model. Is psycho-analysis. it is important to know who one is calling. Recollection is not Platonic reminiscence —it is not the return of a form. a science? What distinguishes modern science from science in its infancy. some double. coming to us from the beyond. nor even some supposed psycho-spherical shell. after all. some phantom. which has been with us for so long. Freud is certainly a master.

namely. is essential. without keeping any of my cards up my sleeve. It is there that Freud bases his certainty. as his writings show.THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION return. Freud analysis. Wiederkehr. in which the subject does not believe. what I understand by the function of repetition. rather too rapidly. only in extremely fleeting moments. though I always hesitate to leave this terrain. it is to show you that the notion of hallucination. But the fact that there is a mode in which Freud can conceive as possible the subversion of the subject shows clearly enough to what extent he identifies the subject with that which is originally subverted by the system of the signifier. if not the brilliant mapping of the law of desire suspended in the Name-of-the-father. No doubt this leaves entirely open the question of hallucination proper. by his self-analysis. If I have insisted on it. No doubt this is merely a mythical pin-pointing—for it is not certain that one can speak of the delusion of hallucinatory psychosis of a confusional origin. and in which he does not recognize himself as implicated. But it is quite obvious that it is not from there that it comes to him. as a process of regressive investment on perception necessarily implies that the subject must be completely subverted in it—which he is. 3 What I now have to say to you is so new—though obviously supported by what I have said about the signifier—that I thought I ought to formulate for you today. in effect. So let us leave this time of the unconscious and move towards the question of what repetition is. sustained by a certain relation to his desire. It is not only Wiederkelir in the sense of that which has been repressed—the very constitution of the field of the unconscious is based on the Wiederkehr. as Freud does. the constitution of psychoI shall not elaborate much more. It comes to him from the law of his the fact that he reco He would no ave een a e to advance with this bet of certainty if he had not been guided in it. And what is his self-analysis. / I j advances. in Freud. and by his own achievement. seeing in it the manifestation of the perceptual regression of arrested desire. It will need more than one of our sessions. 48 .

then. at the level at which we are. since Trieb and instinct have nothing in common—the discord becomes so impossible at one point that the implications of a sentence cannot be carried through by translating Triebhaft by instinctual. I would say—cogitatio adaequata semper vital eandem rem. in some language other than French. An adequate thought. at how Wiederholen (repeating) is introduced. . does not meet it. Those who do not know German should read it in the English translation. . How convincing the 49 . although it is maintained throughout quite uniformly—thus basing the whole edition on a complete misunderstanding. is much more revealing of urgencj than the word instinctual. the real is that which always comes back to the same place—to the place where the subject in so far as he thinks. A footnote becomes necessary—At the beginning of the next paragraph the word Trieb. the recalling of his biography. where the res cogitans. all this goes only to a certain limit. because one was dealing with hysterics. Erinnern. of all psycho-analytic texts is certainly the one that has inspired the greatest amount of stupidity—and which culminates in chapter five of Jenseits des Lustprinzips. in the article of i 914. Wiederholen und Durcharbeiten ('Remembering. You will find this translation —VI say this in passing—quite entertaining. That's how psycho-analytic teaching is passed on! Let us take a look. The whole history of Freud's discovery of repetition as function becomes clear only by pointing out in this way the relation between thought and the real. Try to read this chapter five. my friends—quite different from so-called instinct. Here. Trieb gives you a kick in the arse. and instinctual for triebhaft has so many drawbacks for the translator that. If I wished to make a Spinozian formula concerning what is at issue. You will see. line by line. which is known as the real. that the translation of instinct for Trieb. The subject in himself. for example. this function has nothing to do with the open or closed character of the circuits that I have just called Wiederkehr. Wiederholen is related to Erinnerung (remembering).OF THE NETWORK OF SIGNIFIERS In any case. I am not saying that Freud introduced this function. qua thought. always avoids—if only to find itself again later in everything— the same thing. This was fine at the beginning. Repeating and Working-Through') —which. but he articulated it for the first time.

It was hardly surprising that. if you like. I will take this opportunity to point out to you that in Freud's texts repetition is not reproduction. destroyed. in effigie. That is why I have placed The Act with a large question-mark at the bottom of the blackboard so as to indicate that. for example. Repetition first appears in a form that is not clear. of such structural importance to the whole of Freudian psychology. One had the primal scene in reproduction as today one has pictures of the great masters for 9 francs 50. by the fact of concerning a real that is not self. for the benefit of him who takes the place of the father. because. as one says. a true act. as long as we speak of the relations ofjçpetition with the real. but seppuku. But wait. or burnt. except in a symbolic way. nor any of his epigones. in act. Let us not be precipitate until we know. this act will remain on our horizon. But what Freud showed when he made his next steps—and it did not take him long—was that nothing can be grasped. that an act. or a making present. Why is an act not mere Let us concentrate. in absentia. and let us take note of this. Wiederholen. on an act that is unambiguous. human act. ever attempted to remember what is nevertheless within the grasp of everybody concerning the act—let us say.THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION process of remembering was with the first hysterics! But what is at issue in this remembering could not be known at the outset —one did not know that the desire of the hysteric was the desire of the father. to be sustained in his status. It is curious enough that neither Freud. evidently caught up in it. There is never any ambiguity on this point: Wiederholen is not Rep roduzieren. of the pleasure principle and the reality principle—nothing has been more enigmatic 50 . in the structure. Why do people do that? Because they think it annoys others. like a reproduction. always has an element of structure. since to our knowledge there is no other act but the human one. that is not selE. it is an act that is done in honour of something. it's not called hara-kiri. Nothing has been more enigmatic—especially on the subject of that bipartition. the act of cutting open one's belly in certain conditions —incidentally. To reproduce is what one thought one could do in the optimistic days of catharsis.evident. one remembered things right down to the dregs.

which is very close. then. is this function of traumatic repetition if nothing —quite the reverse—seems to justify it from the point of view of the pleasure principle? To master the painful event. perishes there. 5' . pathologists and others.that in which it is a question of obtaining the binding of energy. On the contrary. someone may say—but who masters. to be mastered? Why speak so hastily when we do not know precisely where to situate the agency that would undertake this operation of mastery? At the end of the series of writings of which I have given you the two essentials. One might say what is said of the divided kingdom.OF THE NETWORK OF SIGNIFIERS than this Wiederholen. so the most prudent etymologists tell us. who always drags his thing into a certain path that he cannot get out of. ascending towards consciousness. synthesizing psyche. of the supposed totalizing. that any conception of the unity of the psyche. Lastly—in these first stages of the experience in which remembering is gradually substituted for itself and approaches ever nearer to a sort of focus. we see manifest itself what I will also call—in inverted commas. where is the master here. some division of function such as we might find at some first more elaborate level otthe real. for example. we see here a point that the subject can approach only by dividing himself into a certain number of agencies. at first. when he is awake. So let us not presume in advance that it is a question here of some gap. which becomes at that moment repetition in act. And why. in which every event seems to be under an obligation to yield itself—precisely at this moment. did repetition appear at the level of what is called traumatic neurosis? Contrary to all the neurophysiologists. Freud made it quite clear that. from which his neurosis derives— it does not seem. to the verb 'to haul' (haler) —hauling as on a towpath—very close to a hauling of the subject. one must change it cornpletely in order to give it its full scope—the resistance of the subject. or centre. to botherhim either way. although it was difficult for the subject to reproduce in dream the memory of the heavy bombing-raid. Freud shows that we can conceive here of what occurs in the dreams of traumatic neurosis only at the level of the most primitive functioning—. for one must also change the meaning of the three words that I am going to say. What.

5 February 1964 52 . which is nevertheless the most elaborate that has ever been made on the function of cause—two terms that are incorrectly translated as chance and fortune. of revising the relation that Aristotle establishes between the automaton—and we know. at the present stage of modern mathematics. Qjwstions and Answers are missing. that it is the network of signifiers—and what he designates as the tuchI—which is for us the encounter with the real. then. It is a question. Aristotle turns and manipulates two terms that are absolutely resistant to his theory.THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION What I will articulate next time will show you how to appropriate to this statement the admirable fourth and fifth chapters of Aristotle's Phjcics.

from Aristotle. a reference-point of what we wish to propose. psycho-analysis seems to lead in the direction of idealism. an essential encounter—an appointment to which we are always called with a real that eludes us. We have translated it as the with the jtal. that it in no way allows us to accept some such aphorism as life is a dream. which it regards as primitive. the tuché. the insistence of the 53 . I Where do we meet this real? For what we have in the discovery of psycho-analysis is an encounter. on the contrary. already given by the condition of the subject. which we have borrowed. internal. the reasons for our deficiencies—it leads to an ontology of the tendencies.5 TUCHE AND AUTOMATON Psycho-analjsis is not an The real as trauma of the dream and of waking Consciousness and representation. at the heart of experience. even of the exploitation of man by man. today. the return. some say. at first sight. struggle. God knows that it has been reproached enough for this—it reduces the experience. The real is beyond the automaton. God is unconscious• The objet petit a in the fort-da Today I shall continue the examination of the concept of repetition. That is why I have put on the blackboard a few words that are for us. as I told you last time. We have only to consider the course of this experience from its first steps to see. who uses it in his search for cause. First. I wish to stress here that. as it is presented by Freud and the experience of psycho-analysis. that urges us to find in the hard supports of conflict. No praxis is more orientated towards that which. the coming-back. is the kernel of the !eal than psycho-analysis.

because of the identification of conceptualization of an with the transference in the this really is the point at which a distinction should be made. in his patient. this desire of Freud is not that which. by which we see ourselves governed by the pleasure principle. of its true nature. after all. throughout Freud's research. we can today ask ourselves whether this fever. This is something that we analysts never allow ourselves to be taken in by. The relation to the real that is to be found in the transference was expressed by Freud when he declared that nothing can be apprehended in ejlgie.THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION signs. so directing the research that. in a way that can almost be described as anguish. almost by force. this presence. this hitch. might have conditioned the belated accident of his psychosis. in fact. So there is no question of confusing with repetition either the return of the signs. is always something that occuts —the expression tells us quite a lot about its relation to the tuché—as bj chance. in absentia—and yet is notthe transference given to us as effigy and as relation to absence? We can succeed in unravelling this ambiguity of the reality involved in the transference only on the basis of the function of the real in repetition. we always point out that we must not be taken in when the subject tells us that something happened to him that day that prevented him from realizing his wish to come to the session. that it is this that is the object of his concern. is always veiled in analysis. or reproduction. What is repeated. At least. Repetition is something which. on principle. He applies himself. that we find at every moment. and it is quite obvious. It is this mode of apprehension abo allthatgovernste new decipher54 . Things must not be taken at the level at which the subject puts them—in as much as what we are dealing with is precisely this obstacle. which is so central for us. that lies behind the phantasy? We feel that throughout this analysis. remember the development. this real brings with it the subject. the real. If you wish to understand what is Freud's preoccupation as the function of phantasy is revealed to hipi. of t&e Wolf Man. The real is that which always lies behind the automaton. to the question—what is the first encounter. or the modulation by the act of a sort rem .

this reality. the bearer of the subject's desire. The function of the tucijé. determining all that follows. produce that which makes the trauma emerge repeatedly—if not its very face. is not reducible to a is a dream. at least the screen that shows. as it is represented for us by some- one like Melanie Klein. us that it is still there behind? Let us conclude that the reality system. Is it not remarkable that. for example. appear to be translated by the same 55 . the last word. the real should have presented itself in the form of that which is unassimilable in it—in the form of the trauma. formula like the one I used earlier. at the origin of the analytic experience. To this requirement correspond those radical points in the real that I call encounters. with the superb ambiguity of the French language. at the very heart of the primary processes. whose presence is supposed to be required by us. and which enable us to conceive reality as unterlegt. however far it is developed. in effect. which. one might say. we see preserved the insistence of the trauma in making us aware of its existence. that of the trauma. of the real as encounter—the encounter in so far as it may be missed. It is this that we have to investigate. the trauma is conceived as having necessarily been marked by the subjectifying homeostasis that orientates the whole functioning defined by the pleasure principle. which derives from the fact that. by virtue of its ascendancy. in so far as it is essentially the missed encounter—first presented itself in the history of psycho-analysis in a form that was in itself already enough to arouse our attention. frequently unveiled. The trauma reappears. and imposing on it an apparently accidental origin? We are now at the heart of what may enable us to understand the radical character of the conffictual notion introduced by the opposition of the pleasure principle and the reality principle—which is why we cannot conceive the reality principle as having. How can the dream. leaves an essential part of what belongs to the real a prisoner in the toils of the pleasure principle. if the motive force of development. Our experience then presents us with a problem.TUCHE AND AUTOMATON ing that we have given of the subject's relations to that which makes his condition. In effect. untertragen. namely.

between perception and consciousness. to all appearances. die Idee einer anderer Lokalitdt. 'in abeyance'. 56 . est Ic mode même de presence de ceje suis d'avant Ic revel. it is strictly untranslatable. And Zwang. and why I went to sleep. the phrase 'en souffi-ance' means 'in suspense'. Since the passage includes examples of this use in French. what woke me. in that nontemporal locus. at what time I went to sleep. so immediately before and so separate. The other day. apprehend this primary process. II n'est point explétif. which Freud defines by word —souf rance. Hence the ambiguity referred to by Lacan. which forces us to posit what Freud calls. It is this sense that translates the German word. not in my perception. a dream that mathfested to me something other than this knocking. in homage to Fechner. the idea of another locality. ii est plutôt I'expression de mon impiCance.THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION in abeyance there. another space. the between perception and consciousness. 2 We can. at any moment. constraint.1 Reality is governs the very diversions of the primary process. I therefore give it below in the original: 'Je suis. And when I awake. I know that I am there. awaiting attention. but in my consciousness. it is because my consciousness reconstitutes itself around this that I am waking up. I said. it is in so far as I reconstitute my entire representation around this knocking—this perception—that I am aware of it. The primary process—which is simply what I have tried to define for you in my last few lectures in the form of the unconscious—must. queje sache. avant queje as me reveille—ce nedit explétif.2 1 In French. 'awaiting attention'. once again. of course. that is. I know But here I must question myself as to what I am at that moment—at the moment. another scene. 'que' or januzis'. LTr. When the knocking occurs. I was awoken from a short nap by knocking at my door just before I actually awoke. 'Soufrance' also means 'pain'. which is that in which I began to dream under the effect of the knocking which is. With this impatient knocking I had already formed a dream. 'pending'. the 'ne' used without the usually accompanying 'pas'. be apprehended in its experience of rupture. 2 There follows a passage in which Lacan comments on the use in French of the 'pleonastic ne'. etc.]. that I am knocked up. déjà dans tel de mes écrits désigné.

TUCHE AND AUTOMATON Observe what I am directing you towards—towards the symmetry of that structure that makes me. To make things quite clear. the dream satisfies only the need to prolong sleep. apparently only in a relation with my representation. a noise made to recall him to the real. distance. then. Such an example hardly seems to confirm Freud's thesis in the Traumdeutung—that the dream is the realization of a desire. La langue. we are told. the gap itself that constitutes awakening. after the awakening knock. Perhaps we shall see better what is at issue. may come so near to the reality that causes it. which. namely the phenomenon. of another old man—and who is awoken by some- thing. vous ne serez plus là. the very reality of an overturned candle setting light to the bed in which his child lies.' 57 . in his dream. By what? It is not only the reality. the shock. almost for the first time. dejI. the knocking. What. apparently. makes of me only consciousness. if the dream. does Freud mean by placing. quand ii viendra. Passerez-vous. after all. Ia langue francaise Ic définit bien dans I'acte de son emploi. at this point. Aurez-vousJini avant qu'il ne vienne? — cela m'importe que vous ayez fini. let us return to the dream —which is also made up entirely of noise—that I left you time to look up in The Interpretation of Dreams. able to sustain myself. the quasi-identity of what is happening. can we not say that it might correspond to this reality without emerging chaquc fois qu'elle a a se manifester. stressing that it is in itself full confirmation of his thesis regarding dreams? If the function of the dream is to prolong sleep. but this expresses. in the Traumdeutung. it is only my representation that I recover possession of. but he never did. by apprehending what is there that motivates the emergence of the repre- sented reality. What we see emerging here. is a function of the dream of an apparently secondary kind—in this case. You will remember the unfortunate father who went to rest in the room next to the one in which his dead child lay—leaving the child in the care. Is that all? Freud has told us often enough that he would have to go back to the function of consciousness. avant qu'il vienne? — car. A sort of involuted reflection—in my consciousness. I Dicu sic plaise qu'il vint avant. this particular dream.

and which indeed all Freud's previous indications allow us here to produce. Does not this sentence. in relation to what is at issue. he has gone to sleep. you what. because of the fever—but who knows. perhaps these words perpetuate the remorse felt by the father that the man he has put at his son's bedside to watch over him may not be up to his task: die Besorgnis dass dergreise Wdchter seiner Aufgabe nichtgewachsen sein he may not be up to his job. can't you see. in fact. of preventing what is happening in the next room also perhaps felt as being in any case too late now. in the dream. ihn am takes him by the arm and whispers to him reproachfully. I called the cause of fever? And is not the action. Is not the missed reality that caused the death of the child expressed in these words? Freud himself does not tell us that we must recognize in this sentence what perpetuates for the father those words forever separated from the dead child that were said to him. another reality? —the reality that Freud describes thus—Dass das Kind an seinem Bette steht. even when the father reemerges after having woken up? 58 . one might say. dass ich verbrenne. that I am burning? Is there not more reality in this message than in the noise by ihm vorwurfsvoll which the father also identifies the strange reality of what is happening in the room next door. perhaps. there is such a thing as somnambulistic activity. a reality in which the person who was supposed to be watching over the body still remains asleep. Father. if not that it repeats something actually more fatal by means of reality. as if by chance. siehst du denn nicht. said in relation to fever. The question that arises. apparently so urgent. in one of my recent lectures. is— What is it that wakes the sleeper? Is it not. in the psychical reality manifested in the words spoken? Is not the dream essentially. in some never attained awakening? What encounter can there be henceforth with that forever inert being—even now being devoured by the flames—if not the encounter that occurs precisely at the moment when. the flames come to meet him? Where is the reality in this accident. und Vater. that the child is near his bed. an act of homage to the missed reality—the reality that can no longer produce itself except by repeating itself endlessly. Freud supposes.THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION from sleep? After all. by accident.

was this accident? When everybody is asleep. when we know only one thing about him. Only a rite. for the flames blind us to the fact that the fire bears on the Unterlegt. Desire manifests itself in the dream by the loss expressed in an image at the most cruel point of the object. If Freud. in this entirely sleeping world. For the true formula of atheism is not God is dead—even by basing the origin of the function of the father upon his murder. This question is all the more striking in that. on the Unt. between the person who is still asleep and whose dream we will not know and the person who has dreamt merely in order not to wake up. For it is not that. has occurred between dream and awakening. must have said.TUCHE AND AUTOMATON Thus the encounter. of the representation. and to ask ourselves what is the correlative. in the dream.ertragen. He looks just as he is asleep. sees in this the confirmation of his theory of desire. Freud protects the father—the true formula of atheism is God is unconscious. But the terrible vision of the dead son taking the father by the arm designates a beyond that makes itself heard in the dream. the person who was unable to maintain his vigil and the person of whom some well intentioned individual. against which one can do no more than take steps! But what. This is certainly what brings us to recognizing in this detached sentence from the dream of the grief-stricken father the counterpart of what will be. 59 . except the father qua father. can't you see I'm burning? This sentence is itself a firebrand—of itself it brings fire where it falls—and one cannot see what is burning. amazed. on the real. only the voice is heard. standing at his bedside. forever missed. The awakening shows us the waking state of the subject's consciousness in the representation of what has happened —the unfortunate accident in reality. in the dream. no conscious being. can commemorate this not very memorable encounter—for no one can say what the death of a child is. his consciousness. it is certainly a sign that the dream is not a phantasy fulfilling a wish. then. Father. he persuades himself that the son is still alive. It is only in the dream that this truly unique encounter can occur. including the person who wished to take a little rest. that is to say. an endlessly repeated act. once he is awake. and that is that.

the small element of reality. 3 Thus Freud finds himself providing the solution to the problem which. which is evidence that we are not dreaming. This. on the other hand. what seems to him. for what wakes us is the other reality hidden behind the lack of that which takes the place of representation—this. as it has been mistranslated. is what. for lack of representation. the representative representative (le reprCsentant représentatif). which stretches from the trauma to the phantasy—in so far as the phantasy is never anything more than the screen that conceals something quite primary. How can we fall to see that awakening works in two clirec- tions—and that the awakening that re-situates us in a constituted and represented reality carries out two tasks? The real has to be sought beyond the dream—in what the dream has enveloped. But. the Vorstellungsreprasentanz. This means not. in his dream. says Freud is the Trieb. and which really sustains. The real may be represented by the accident. behind the lack of representation of which there is only one representative. what is this Trieb? We may have to consider it as being only Trieb to come. for us. This is the real that governs our activities more than any other and it is psychoanalysis that designates it for us. qua encounter forever missed. But be careful! We have not yet said what this Trieb is —and if. in Freud's text. for the most acute of the questioners of the 6o . something determinant in the function of repetition—this is what we must now examine. this reality is not so small. hidden from us. it is the imagery of the dream and it is an opportunity for us to stress what Freud. indeed. we see the dream really as the counterpart of the representation. it is not there. when he speaks of the unconscious.THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION here. explains both the ambiguity of the function of awakening and of the function of the real in this awakening. We shall see its function later. The place of the real. but that which takes the place of the representation (Ic tenantlieu tie la representation). absolutely exemplary. designates as that which essentially determines it. the noise. I hope I have helped you to grasp what is nodal in the encounter.

any more than is Kierkegaard. it abolishes the mirages of love. which finds its dimension in this new —Freud also tells us this in the chapter I referred to last time. The return of need is directed towards consumption placed at the service of appetite. manifesting himself as an insistence that the story should always be the same. in his first movement. Really. has created the most false of demands. To develop it by 6x . Kierkegaard stresses the feature that. and in a quite unanswerable way. in repetition. is varied. It is turned towards the ludic. demands something new in his activities. namely. no return of need.TUCHE AND AUTOMATON soul before him—Kierkegaard—had already been centred on repetition. that is to say. with the other. by making himself the prisoner of this exaltation. modulated. that its recounted realization should be ritualized. The adult. textually the same. at the moment when he is formed as a human being. the most radical diversity constituted by repetition in itself. and even the more advanced child. of this breathlessness which. is there not something here more profound than La Rochefoucauld's remark that few would experience love if they had not had its ways and means explained to them? Yes. so truly Mozartian in the way. in his games. the ego ideal whether it is or the ego that regards itself as the ideal? Freud is not dealing with any repetition residing in the natural. in his love. that of narcissistic satisfaction. It can be seen in the child. is merely alienation of its meaning. Repetition demands the new. but who began it? And does not everything essentially begin by deceiving the first to whom the enchantment of love was addressed—who has passed off this enchantment as the exaltation of the other. Whatever. This requirement of a distinct consistency in the details of its telling signifies that the realization of the signifier will never be able to be careful enough in its memorization to succeed in designating the primacy of the significance as such. I would ask you to re-read Kierkegaard's essay on Repetition. so reminiscent of Don Giovanni. the young man—whose portrait Kierkegaard paints for us with a mixture of emotion and derision—addresses only to himself through the medium of memory. With great acuteness. so dazzling in its lightness and ironic play. But this 'sliding-away' (glissement) conceals what is the true secret of the ludic.

To this object we will later give the name it bears in the Lacanian algebra—the petit a. but not at all that of some need that might demand the return of the mother. This variation makes one forget the aim of the significance by transforming its act into a game. When Freud grasps the repetition involved in the game played by his grandson. of itself. transformed into a and begins the incantation. The ever-open gap introduced by the absence indicated remains the cause of a centrifugal tracing in which that which falls is not the other qua face in which the subject is projected. in the reiteratedfort-da. thus indicating that he expects to see her return through it.mutilation on the basis of which the order of significance will be put in perspective. self. but that his vigilance was aroused earlier. still retained. at the point she moved away from him. the reel. it would seem. at the very point she left him. It is the 62 . The activity as a whole symbolizes repetition. how can we fail to recognize here —from the very fact that this game is accompanied by one of the first oppositions to appear—that it is in the object to which the opposition is applied in act. this phenomenon is of secondary importance. It is with his object that the child leaps the frontiers of his domain. and giving it certain outlets that go some way to sadsFjing the pleasure principle. Wallon stresses that the child does not immediately watch the door through which his mother has disappeared. For the game of the cotton-reel is the subject's answer to what the mother's absence has created on the frontier of his domain—the edge of his cradle—namely. that we must designate the subject. This is the place to say. in imitation of Aristotle. detaches itself in this trial. to elude it. and which would be expressed quite simply in a cry. he may indeed point out that the child makes up for the effect of his mother's disappearance by making himself the agent of it—but. If it is true that the signifier is the first mark of the subject. therefore. that man thinks with his object. around which one can only play at '—jumping. but that cotton-reel linked to itself by the thread that it holds—in which is expressed that which. This reel is not the mother reduced to a little ball by some magical game worthy of the Jivaros—it is a small part of the subject that detaches itself from him while still remaining his. a ditch.THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION varying the significations is.

qua represented—for it is the game itself that is the Rep räsentanz of the Vorstellung. having picked up this child—I have seen it let his head fall on my shoulder and drop off to sleep. he says. You will see that this sketch that I have given you today of the function of the tuche will be essential for us in rectifying what is the duty of the analyst in the interpretation of the transference. which is a here or there. essentially. is simply that of being the fort of a da. fort-da. presenting himself as already the adversary of a pure function of negativity in order to introduce thought into it.AND AUTOMATON repetition of the mother's departure as cause of a Spaltung in the subject—overcome by the alternating game. and we shall show next time that the very originality of psycho-analysis lies in the fact that it does not centre psychological ontogenesis on supposed stages—which have literally no discoverable foundation in development observable in biological terms. by the obstacle of the tuchI. What will become of the Vorstellung when. this Reprasentanc of the mother—in her outline made up of the brush-strokes and gouaches of desire—will be lacking? I. too. It is aimed at what. have seen with my own eyes. and whose aim. it is in so far as the tuché brings us back to the same point at which pre-Socratic philosophy sought to motivate the world itself. the child. at some point. traumatized by the fact that I was going away despite the appeal. When Democritus tried to designate it. is not there. If knowledge is so often. an inclination. once again. precociously adumbrated in his voice. in theoretical writings. related to something similar to the relation between ontogenesis and phylogenesis—it is as the result of a confusion. It is not the that is 63 . in its alternation. It required a clinamen. opened by maternal divination. and the da of afort. Let me just stress today that it is not in vain that analysis posits itself as modulating in a more radical way this relation of man to the world that has always been regarded as knowledge. sleep alone being capable of giving him access to the living signifier that I had become since the date of the trauma. If develop. and henceforth more renewed for months at a time—long after. ment is entirely animated by accident.

one needs to refer to the stages. is a coined word. then. etc. let alone 3. What. which go to form the libido. and adds—thus showing you that from what one of my pupils called the archaic stage of philosophy. It crystallizes each of these moments in a dialectic that has as its centre a bad encounter. did he say? He said. The fear of castration is like a thread that perforates all the stages of development. He did not say Iv. This does not mean that the stages assume a sexual taint that is diffused on the basis of the fear of castration. perhaps?—not perhaps nothing. LACAN: The description of the stages. but a öev. in Greek. the manipulation of words was used just as in the time of Heidegger —it is not an wØiv. that of idealism. On the contrary. The stages are organized around the fear of castration. defence phantasies and the phantasies of the castration veil are concerned. in describing the formation of intelligence up to the age of three or four. The copulatory fact of the introduction of sexuality is traumatizing—this is a snag of some size—and it has an organizing function for development. which always remains opaque.THE UNCONSCIOUS AND REPETITION essential. which. toilet training. it is in accordance with their possible registration in terms of bad encounters. Nothing. D0LT0: I don't see how. must not be referred to some natural process of pseudo- maturation. I think that as far as th. 12 February 1964 64 . It orientates the relations that are anterior to its actual appearance—weaning.. it is because this empathy is not produced that one speaks of trauma and primal scene. If the stages are consistent. The central bad encounter is at the level of the sexual. answering the question I asked today. and also the threats of mutilation. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS F. but not nothing. one can do without stages.

OF THE GAZE AS Objet Petit a .

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The facticity of the traumaS Maurice Merleau-Pont. of its connotation of something tiring. the compulsion to repeat. and which opposes it for example to the indefiniteness of the whole number.6 THE SPLIT BETWEEN THE EYE AND THE GAZE The split of the subject. I shall give you the facts that suggest that at certain moments of that infantile monologue. in the mathematical sense of the term. Furthermore. playing on the ambiguity of the word in French. I Later. The character of a set. possessed by the playof signifiers. The philosophical tradition Mimicrj• The all-seer. holen (to haul). of unpredictable statistical effects—it is the very structure of the network that implies the returns. exhausting. This this compulsion. If the subject is the subject of the signifier—determined by it—one may imagine the synchronic network as it appears in the diachrony of preferential effects. would then direct us towards the obligatory card—if there is only one card in the pack. Through the elucidation of what we call strategies. imprudently termed 67 . to draw. Wiederholung—let me remind you once again of the etymological reference that I gave you. This is not a question. it is by automatisme that we sometimes translate into French the Zwang of the Wiederholuagszwang. you understand. enables us to conceive a schema in which the function of the obligatory card is immediately applicable. it shows To continue. this is the figure that Aristotle's automaton assumes for us. to draw lots (tirer au sort). I can't draw another. To haul. To draw what? Perhaps. In the dream..

it was because the choice of this dream —so enclosed. not so much in that death as in the fact that it is beyond. At most. of course. it was around the dream in chapter seven of The Interpretation of Dreams that I approached the whole question of repetition. that governs this syntax and makes it more and more condensed. Is the reality that determines the awakening the slight noise against which the empire of the dream and of desire is maintained? Is it not rather something else? Is it not that which is expressed in the depths of the anxiety of this dream—namely. When the subject tells his story. at the beginning of his description of psychical resistance. in the sense of destiny? 68 . occurring as it does at the moment when Freud is dealing with the process of the dream in its last resort. as fir as the subject is concerned. the bed of the unconscious reserve—to be understood in the sense of an Indian reserve—within the social network. We must distinguish between the resistance of the subject and that first resistance of discourse. What does this mean. calls a nucleus. Condensed in relation to what? In relation to what Freud. which emerges. the most intimate aspects of the relation between the father and the son. since it is not analysed—is very revealing here. These games belong to the field that we call pre-conscious. To say that this nucleus refers to something traumatic is no more than an approximation. there are strictly syntactical games to be observed. something acts. it is grounded on what Freud indicates as a sort of deduction. is pre-conscious. For the expression resistance of the subject too much implies the existence of a supposed ego and it is not certain whether—at the approach of this nucleus—it is something that we can justifiably call an ego. in a latent way. if not that. which assures us that we are in perception by means of the sense of reality that authenticates it.OF THE GAZE egocentric. one might say. Syntax. but make. when the discourse proceeds towards the condensation around the nucleus. this is called awakening? Although. The nucleus must be designated as belonging to the real— the real in so far as the identity of perception is its rule. last time. But what eludes the subject is the fact that his syntax is in relation with the unconscious reserve. so doubly and triply enclosed as it is.

which is repeated. and the veiled meaning. The direction indicated in this reduction to the actuality of the session. the piece of bad luck —and the element of poignancy. the encounter. that the tuche. Certainly. or the series of sessions. in its dialectical effects. for us. after all. What is missed is not adaptation. The correct concept of repetition must be obtained in another direction. which is the true reality and leads us towards the drive—confirms for us that the demystification of that artefact of treatment known as the transference does not consist in reducing it to what is called the actuality of the situation. to a very great degree the accomplice of the drive—which we shall come to last. Aristotle's formula—that the tuché is defined by being able to come to us only from a being capable of choice. which we cannot confuse with the effects of the transference taken as a whole. because only by following this way will we be able to conceive from what it returns. proairesis. For. Aristotle marks the extreme limit of that point that stops it on the edge of the extravagant forms of sexual behaviour. The very accident of this exemplary dream depicts this. monstrosities. when we approach the function of the transference. good or bad fortune. why is the primal scene so traumatic? Why is it always too early or too late? Why does the subject take 69 . cannot come to us from an inanimate object. when everybody is asleep—the candle that overturns and the sheets that catch fire. but tuché. it enables us to apprehend the real. which he can only describe as teriotes. Our next problem. The enclosed aspect of the relation between the accident. It is what. a child or an animal—is controverted here. is not even of propedeutic value. in the subject. It is precisely through this that the real finds itself. That is why it is necessary to ground this repetition first of all in the very split that occurs in the subject in relation to the encounter. This split constitutes the characteristic dimension of analytic discovery and experience. however veiled. will be to grasp how the transference may lead us to the heart of repetition.THE EYE AND THE GAZE Between what occurs as if by chance. as originally unwelcome. the meaningless event. can't jou see I'm burning—there is the same relation to what we were dealing with in repetition. is represented in the term neurosis of destiny or neurosis of failure. the accident. in the words Father.

is this way to be forged in 70 .OF THE GAZE either too much pleasure in it—at least. the way that seems best to me—threading my curved needle through the tapestry. I would say—from the word tuche? For the moment. it is our horizon that seems factitious in the fundamental relation to sexuality. I have no need to pinch myself to known that I am not dreaming. between us and all those who try to conceive of the way of the subject. all the same. as in the case of the hysteric? Why doesn't it arouse the subject immediately.. the solicitation of the gaze —Father can't you see. the invocation. that which causes it and into which he sinks. keeps a grip on itself.. the image of the approaching child. it is not sexual empathy that sustains the modulations of the analysable. This split. it is I who am living through all this. the representation of the world that has at last fallen back on its feet. how stupid. The fact remains that this split is still there only as representing the more profound split. but a factitious fact. how horrible. but which. like that which appears in the scene so fiercely tracked down in the experience of the Wolf Man—the strangeness of the disappearance and reappearance of the penis. A factitious fact. I jump on to the side on which is posed the question that offers itself as a crossroads. In so far as it is a search for truth. what a terrible thing. 2 It is there that—free as I am to pursue. what has happened. after awakening. his face full of reproach and. I wanted to point out where the split in the subject lay. which is situated between that which refers to the subject in the machinery of the dream. transfixed with the tychic. persists—between the return to the real. In analytic experience. the voice of the child. which knows it is living through all this as through a nightmare. on the other hand. Last time. what an idiot he was to fall asleep —and the consciousness re-weaving itself. arms raised. it is a question of setting out from the fact that the primal scene is traumatic. if it is true that he is so profoundly libidinal? Why is the fact here dustuchia? Why is the supposed maturation of the pseudo-instincts shot through. in the path in which I am leading you. this is how at first we conceived the traumatizing causality of the obsessional neurotic —or too little.

In this work. one finds a re- capitulation of the regulatory function of form. And it is not by chance that Maurice Merleau-Ponty recognized its guide in the eye. Le Visible ci l'invisible. which is governed. invoked in opposition to that which. his muscular and visceral emotion—in short. prefigured in the work of piety that we owe to Claude Lefort. you will find both a recapitulation and a step forward in the path of what had first been formulated in Merleau-Ponty's La Phénomenologie de la perception. Maurice Merleau-Ponty now makes the next step by forcing 7' . setting out from an aesthetic world. which is both an end and a beginning. his grip. posthumous work of my friend Maurice MerleauPonty. a path that had broken off at one point of the oeuvre. thus attaining a beauty that is also its limit. directed in what is called his total intentionality. in a long and difficult transcription. at the level of the dialectic of truth and appearance. In this work. Le Visible ci l'invisible. Here is expressed. had been taken to that extreme of vertigo expressed in the term idealism—how could the 'lining' that representation then became be joined to that which it is supposed to cover? La Phénoménologie brings us back. grasped at the outset of perception in its fundamentally ideic. his movement. not only by the subject's eye. his constitutive presence. he seems to me to have achieved. as philosophical thinking progressed. in a way aesthetic. with its trauma seen as a reflection of facticity? Or is it to be located where tradition has always placed it. which left it nevertheless in a state of completion. what made the alternation of our dialogue. to the regulation of form. and accentuated character as visual centring? It is not mere chance—belonging to the order of the pure ijchic—if this very week I have received a copy of the newly published. to whom I would like to pay homage here for the kind of perfection which. embodied. and I remember so clearly the Congres de Bonneval where his intervention revealed the nature of his path. then. This work. but by his expectations. of which one may say that. it is determined by an end given to being as sovereign good. may indicate for us the moment of arrival of the philosophical tradition—the tradition that begins with Plato with the promulgation of the idea.THE EYE AND THE GAZE our style of adventure.

Precisely this gives me an opportunity to reply to someone that. the ontological status. I have my ontology—why not?—like everyone else. to that ontological turning back. is the pre-existence of a gaze—I see only from one point. symbolic of what we find on the horizon. although it reinterprets that of Freud. the scopic field. if not the only one. for that eye is only the metaphor of something that I would prefer to call the seer's 'shoot' (pousse) —something prior to his eye. more or less polarized indeed by the threads of our experience. I will only add that the maintenance of this aspect of Freudianism. that must lead us to the aims of this work. The gaze is presented to us only in the form of a strange contingency. But it is not between the invisible and the visible that we have to pass. which is often described as naturalism. is nevertheless centred essentially on the particularity of the experience it describes—makes no claim to cover the entire field of experience. however naive or elaborate it may be. You will see that the ways through which he will lead you are not only of the order of visual phenomenology. for it is one of the few attempts. But. through the instructions Freud left us. but in my existence I am looked at from all sides. of course. In the field offered us by Maurice Merleau-Ponty. to embody psychical reality without it. But this is going too far. not to say most outworn. as that of which the subject has to take possession. by means of the path he indicates for us. is presented by its most factitious. It is no doubt this seeing. effects. seems to be indispensable. to which I am subjected in an original way. the bases of which are no doubt to be found in a more primitive institution of form. The split that concerns us is not the distance that derives from the fact that there are forms imposed by the world towards which the intentionality of phenomenological experience directs us—hence the limits that we encounter in the experience of the visible. what I try to outline in my discourse—which. Even this between- the-two that opens up for us the apprehension of the unconscious is of concern to us only in as much as it is designated for us. as the thrust 72 . certainly.OF THE GAZE the limits of this very phenomenology. since they set out to rediscover—this is the essential point—the dependence of the visible on that which places us under the eye of the seer. What we have to circumscribe.

namely. the problem does not lie there. On the other hand. and ordered in the figures of representais transmitted. the determining mutation of mimicry. imitated&idy. the ocelli. in order tobe effective. on the sttbject of such mimetic manifestations. But. in so far as this relation is constituted by the way of vision. for example. in the insect. it is a question of understanding whether they 73 . is has to be In short.. something it—that is we call and is always to some degree Y6ii can be made aware of this in more than one way. A lot has been said about this subject and a great deal that is absurd—for example. The most radical problem of mimicry is to know whether we must attribute it to sojxie-• shows us it of the very organism that iJilito be legitimate. its supposed selective effects are annihilated by the observation that one finds in the stomach of birds. by one of the enigmas that the reference to nature presents us with.from which or. predators in particular. that is. I do not think this is the case. Let me describe it. It is a question of nothing less than the phenomenon known as mimicry. the lack that constitutes castration anxiety. but its relation to the. as many insects supposedly protected by mimicry as insects that are not.environment. 3 In our relation to things. The eye and the gaze—this is for us the split in which the drive is manifested at the level of the scopic field. to a short work that many of you may already know. and especially of the manifestation that may remind us of the function of the eyes. we would have to be only the very form the a position toçontröl. that the phenomenon of mimicry can be explained in terms of adaptation.THE EYE AND THE GAZE of our experience. among others. tion. in which the reference to adaptation is criticized in aparticularlyperspicacious way. in any case. at its extreme point. I need only refer you. may take place only at once and at the outset. from stage to stage. On the one hand. as Caillois reminds us very pertinently. Roger Caillois' Méduse et compagnie.

in the scopic field. namely. which gives the subject a pretext for such a profound meconnaissance—and does its empire not extend as far as this reference of the philosophical tradition represented by plenitude encountered by the subject in the mode of contemplation—can we not also grasp that which has been eluded. or whether. We will then realize that the function of the stain and of the gaze is both that which governs the gaze most secretly and that which always escapes from the grasp of that form of vision that is satisfied with itself in imagining itself as consciousness. This much we can map of this topology. Similarly. That in which the consciousness may turn back upon itself —grasp itself. which is particularly satisfj'ing for the subject. the eyes are fascinating only by virtue of their relation to the form of the ocelli. like Valery's Young Parque. we can seek its track. for its exceptional character—is for us simply a small manifestation of the function to be isolated. as seeing oneself seeing oneself—represents mere sleight of hand. for its facticity. on the contrary. An avoidance of the function of the gaze is at work there. There is no need for us to refer to some supposition of the existence of a universal seer. chosen as such—for its location. let us say the word. in that order. the function. of the stain. its trace. its thread. at every stage of the constitution of the world. which last time we worked out for ourselves on the basis of that which appears from the position of the subject when he accedes to the imaginary forms offered him by the dream. In other words. This example is valuable in marking the pre-existence to the seen of a given-to-be-seen.OF THE GAZE impress—it is a fact that they have this effect on the predator or on the supposed victim that looks at them—whether they impress by their resemblance to eyes. the function of the gaze? I mean. must we not distinguish between the function of the eye and that of the gaze? This distinctive example. If the function of the stain is recognized in its autonomy and identified with that of the gaze. and Maurice 74 . not to say diffuses from it. as opposed to those of the waking state. connoted in psycho-analytic experience by the term narcissism—in which I have striven to reintroduce the essential structure it derives from its reference to the specular that image—in the satisfaction.

on the other hand. He may say to himself. in the so-called waking state. appears to us as all-seeing. but any dream—place it in its co-ordinates. in which. also. of stain. it also shows. Is there no satisfaction in being under that gaze of which. in the final resort. the absence of horizon. but it is not exhibitionistic—it does not provoke our gaze. and you will see that this it shows is well to the fore. He may even on occasion detach himself. following Merleau-Ponty. in the Cartesian cogito. on condition that one does not show her that one knows that she knows. if not that. this all-seeing aspect is to be found in the satisfaction of a woman who knows that she is being looked at. that gaze that circumscribes us. the feeling of strangeness begins too. So much is it to the fore. in this sense. of its images. The subject does not see where it is leading. the enclosure. In the field of the dream. that we are beings who are looked at. It shows—but here. what I am going to say may remain enigmatic. That which makes us consciousness institutes us by the same token as speculum mundi. and. But he does 75 . of contrast. Look up some description of a dream. there is an elision of the gaze. the intensification of their colours—that. When it begins to provoke it. he follows. I spoke just now. what characterizes the images is that it shows. and an elision of the fact that not only does it look.THE EYE AND THE GAZE Merleau-Ponty points this out. tell himself that it is a dream. but in no case will he be able to apprehend himself in the dream in the way in which. our position in the dream is profoundly that of someone who does not see. in the spectacle of the world. the character of emergence. after all. This is the phantasy to be found in the Platonic perspective of an absolute being to whom is transferred the quality of being all-seeing. too. of that which is contemplated in the waking state. with the characteristics in which it is co-ordinated—namely. but without showing this? The spectacle of the world. he apprehends himself as thought. some form of 'sliding away' of the subject is apparent. and which in the first instance makes us beings who are looked at. any One—not only the one I referred to last time. The world is all-seeing. What does this mean. At the very level of the phenomenal experience of contemplation. It's onlj a dream.

Good heavens. It is when he is awake that he is Choang-tsu for others. if not this gratuitous showing. he is not the butterfly that he is dreaming of being. and is caught in their butterfly net. in which is marked for us the primal nature of the essence of the gaze. in the last resort. But this does not mean that he is cap. it is when he was the butterfly that he apprehended one of the roots of his identity—that he was. This is why the butterfly may—if the subject is not Choangtsu. Indeed. when he is Choang-tsu awake. when dreaming of being the butterfly. I am the consciousness of this dream. This is because. he is a butterfly for nobody. first because it proves he is not mad. What are so many figures. he is Choangtsu. I propose to introduce you to the essence of scopic satisfaction. for structural reasons. he is a butterfly.OF THE GAZE not apprehend himself as someone who says to himself—After all. when he is the butterfly. Next time. but captured by nothing. it is a butterfly that is not very different from the one that terrorized the Wolf Man —and Maurice Merleau-Ponty is well aware of the importance of it and refers us to it in a footnote to his text. secondly. that butterfly who paints himself with his own colours —and it is because of this that. the fall of the subject always 76 . the idea does not occur to him to wonder whether. When Choangtsu wakes up. he does not regard himself as absolutely identical with Choang-tsu and. What does this mean? It means that he sees the butterfly in his reality as gaze. This is proved by the fact that. in the dream. In a dream. and doubly so. he will no doubt have to bear witness later that he represented himself as a butterfly.. for. he may ask himself whether it is not the butterfly who dreams that he is Choang-tsu. The gaze may contain in itself the objet a of the Lacanian algebra where the subject falls. tivated by the butterfly—he is a captive butterfly. In fact. he is right. and what specifies the scopic field and engenders the satisfaction proper to it is the fact that. in his essence. because he does not fully understand how right he is. but the Wolf Man—inspire in him the phobic terror of recognizing that the beating of little wings is not so very far from the beating of causation. of the primal stripe marking his being for the first time with the grid of desire. and is. so many shapes. so many colours.

it leaves the subject in ignorance as to what there is beyond the appearance. by our interventions in the session. for it is reduced to zero. nor a philosophy that claims to provide the key to the universe. evanescent function. may come to symbolize this central lack expressed in the phenomenon of castration. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS X. Psycho-analysis is neither a Weltansc/zauung. more open than any other to alibi. This means that the level of reciprocity between the gaze and the gazed at is.. I shall show that it is at the level that I call the stain that the tjichic point in the scopic function is found. that one is situated as the person who is observing in the subject the process of looking at oneself? LACAN: I shall take up again what I have said above. for ex- ample. the other to those who have come here in order to discover whether psycho-analysis is a science. into theogony and genesis. It is governed bya particular aim. On the contrary. 77 . to let the subject know that one is looking at him. that is to sa. an ignorance so characteristic of all progress in thought that occurs in the way constituted by philosophical research. except in a punctiform way. But it is a way that analytic experience must rectify. In so far as the gaze. one of concern to analysts. and in so far as it is an objet a reduced. adding that my discourse here has two aims. we should cut him off from this point of ultimate gaze. in analjsis. taking as his starting-point the preSocratics. which is historically defined by the elaboration of the notion of the subject. It poses this notion in a new way. AUD OUARD: To what extent is it necessarj. I am trying here to grasp how the tue/il is represented in visual apprehension. in so far as the subject has no better testing ground for the apprehension of being.THE EYE AND THE GAZE remains unperceived. allowing the subject to establish himself on this level. to a punctiform. qua objet a. To go from perception to science is a perspective that seems to be self-evident. of its nature. for the subject. We see this. This way is the same one tjiat Aristotle follows. because it avoids the abyss of castration. That is why we should try to avoid. in the fact that the tue/il does not enter. which is illusory. by leading the subject back to his signifying dependence.

The split between gaze and vision will enable us. If we know how to read it. at every end and turn. to add the scopic drive to the list of the drives.OF THE GAZE The obstacle you point out is certainly there to illustrate the fact that we take a great deal of care. we shall see that Freud already places this drive to the fore in Triebe und Triebschicksale ('Instincts and their Vicissi- tudes').l'fow. Indeed. It is not. or. you will see. The top button of your waistcoat is undone. for nothing that analysis is not carried out face to face. it is this drive that most completely eludes the term castration. . We do not say to the patient. and shows that it is not homologous with the others. now! What a face you're making!. after all. 19 February 1964 78 .

You know that some shadow. Contrechant. as I shall try to do today. The privilege of the gaze as objet a• The optics of the blindS The phallus in the picture Vainement ton image arrive a ma rencontre Et ne m'entre oãje suis qui seulement la montre Toi te tournant vers moi tu ne saurais trouver Au mur de mon regard que ton ombre rlvée Je suis cc maiheureux comparable aux miroirs Q. see page 17. it seemed to me that. we can situate consciousness. I must first clear up a misunderstanding that appears 1 For a translation of the poem. one destined to stress. or. I was diverted into doing so by the way in which I presented the concept of repetition in Freud. I did not realize at the time that I would be developing the subject of the gaze to such an extent.ui peuvent réftéchir mais ne peuvent pas voir Comme eux mon oeil est vide et comme eux habitI Dc l'absence de toi quifait sa cécité' You may remember that. Moreover. We cannot deny that it is within the explanation of repetition that this digression on the scopic function is situated —no doubt by Maurice Merleau-Poiity's recently published work. to use another term. from Aragon's Le Fou d'Elsa. if an encounter were to be found there. before taking things up again at the point we left them last time. how. some 'resist' —in the sense one speaks of 'resist' in the dying of material—marks the fact of consciousness in Freud's very discourse.7 ANAMORPHOSIS Of the foundation of consciousness. But. it was a happy one. I began by quoting the poem. 79 . Le Visible et l'invisible. in one of my earlier lectures. in the perspective of the unconscious.

that the I see myself seeing myself remains its envelope and base. and in the most disconcerting way. I I saw myself seeing myself. it sounded to some of you like a sneeze. And yet I 8o . How is it. namely. the fact of the tychic is central. correlative with that fundamental mode to which we referred in the Cartesian cogito. It is in relation to the eye. the phenomenologists have succeeded in articulating with precision. by which the subject apprehends himself as thought? What isolates this apprehension of thought by itself is a sort of doubt. the tychic. We are dealing with the philosopher. which has been called methodological doubt. Whereas in the I see myself seeing myself. then. I warm myself by warming myself is a reference to the body as body—I feel that sensation of warmth which. I used this analogy at the heart of the experience of repetition quite intentionally. the happy encounter and the unhappy encounter. perhaps more than one thinks. grounds its certainty? For. that of femininity—but we haven't got there yet. young Parque says somewhere. Yet I made it quite clear that it was the adjective formed from tuché just as psychique (psychical) is the adjective corresponding to psuché (psyche). there is no such sensation of being absorbed by vision. in relation to the eutuchia or the dustuclzia. that it is quite clear that I see outside. that my lecture today will be ordered. that perception is not in me. Cer- tainly. this statement has rich and complex implications in relation to the theme developed in La Jeune Parque. and which I commented on.OF THE GAZE to have arisen in the minds of certain members of the audience concerning a term I used last time. because for any conception of the psychical development as elucidated by psycho-analysis. who apprehends something that is one of the essential correlates of consciousness in its relation to representation. that it is on the objects that it apprehends. Apparently. and. Furthermore. from some point inside me. What evidence can we really attach to this formula? How is it that it remains. in fact. and which is designated as I see myself seeing myself. which concerns whatever might give support to thought in representation. Some of you seem to have been perplexed by a word that is simple enough. is diffused and locates me as body.

ANAMORPHOSIS apprehend the world in a perception that seems to concern the immanence of the I see myself seeing myself. the process of the philosophical meditation throws the subject towards the transforming historical action. it an only be a question of a reconstruction or a restoration. not from the body. my representations belong to me. This is also the point to which Maurice Merleau-Ponty leads us. he tells us. on the other hand. it restores to being itself that power of annihilation—or at least poses the question of how it may be related to it.consciousness through its metamorphoses in history. is placed there. of this reflecting reflection. the philosopher. as much in confrontation with himself as in confrontation with those who are listening to him. in an embarrassing position. around this point. as soon as I perceive. you will see that it is at this point that he chooses to withdraw. In fact. this belong to me aspect of representations. The mode of my presence in the world is the subject in so far as by reducing itself solely to this certainty of being a subject. and. but from something 8i . goes so far as to reduce the subject apprehended by the Cartesian meditation to a power of annihilation. if you refer to his text. in order to propose a return to the sources of intuition concerning the visible and the invisible. The privilege of the subject seems to be established here from that bipolar reflexive relation by which. in order to locate the emergence of vision For him. not of a path traversed in the opposite direction—of reconstituting the way by which. but. it becomes active annihilation. of the suspicion of yielding me only my representations. it is a question of restoring—for. the process of this meditation. so reminiscent of property. Serious practice does not really weigh very heavy. But. namely. about whose subjective position much might be said—including something that may have eluded you in passing. orders the configured modes of active self. As for the meditation on being that reaches its culmination in the thought of Heidegger. the idealist. This is how the world is struck with a presumption of idealization. When carried to the limit. How can one deny that nothing of the world appears to me except in my representations? This is the irreducible method of Bishop Berkeley. thetic or non-thetic. to come back to that which is prior to all reflection.

that which analysis assumes in reducing the privileges of the consciousness. or rays (rais). towards that new dimension of meditation on the subject that analysis enables us to trace. Yet is this really the way he wished to take? The traces that remain of the part to come from his meditation permits us to doubt it. which are for me less enigmatic than they may seem to other readers. 82 . in particular—that I shall be dealing with here. extract From the toils (TeSs). I cannot but be struck by certain of these notes. Psycho-analysis regards the consciousness as irremediably limited. Read. and institutes it as a principle. the original point of vision was able to emerge.OF THE GAZE that he calls the flesh of the world. finds its basis in the inside-out structure of the gaze. for example. allow us to perceive that he may have been directed towards some search. more particularly for the strictly psycho-analytic unconscious. I emerge as eye. a break— which warns us of the need to introduce another reference. because they correspond very exactly to the schemata —with one of them. in the field of the reduction of the subject. providing a glimpse on the horizon of the hunt of Artemis—whose touch seems to be associated at this moment of tragic failure in which we lost him who speaks. It would seem that in this way one sees. in a way. the seer. in this unfinished work. of an iridescence of which I am at first a part. in its illusion of seeing itself seeing itself. Personally. The reference-points that are provided in it. not only of idealization. emergence from what I would like to call the function of seeingness A wild odour emanates from it. assuming. 2 But what is the gaze? I shall set out from this first point of annihilation in which is marked. the note concerning what he calls the turning inside-out of the finger of a glove. original in relation to the philosophical tradition. if you prefer. in as much as it seems to appear there—note the way in which the leather envelops the fur in a winter glove—that consciousness. the emergence of something like the search for an unnamed substance from which I.

from some induced by the very approach of the real. But I am stating here only the relation of the pvc-conscious to the unconscious. at first sight. fortunately. the subject tries to adapt himself to it. a privileged object. as Freud has stressed. Is it simply a metaphor? We find here once again the ambiguity that affects anything that is inscribed in the register of the scopic drive. to symbolize his own vanishing and punctiform bar (trait) in the illusion of the consciousness of seeing oneself see oneself. Its privilege—and also that by which the subject for so long has been misunderstood as being in its dependence—derives from its very structure. That is why it is. in which the gaze is elided. remains up to this point. too. For us. it presents itself as speaking. for propaedeutic reasons. From the moment that this gaze appears. Let us schematize at once what we mean. which has emerged from some primal separation. in our algebra. that point of vanishing being with which the subject confuses his own failure. whose name. more than any other object.ANAMORPHOSIS but of méconnaissance. how shall we try to imagine it? 83 . as—using a term that takes on new value by being referred to a visible domain—scotoma. the gaze is specified as unapprehensible. not yet articulated. consciousness matters only in its relation to what. The dynamic that is attached to the consciousness as such. It is here that I propose that the interest the subject takes in his own split is bound up with that which determines it —namely. the gaze is that underside of consciousness. misunderstood (méconnu). If. that the subject manages. and it is perhaps for this reason. In the scopic relation. the object on which depends the phantasy from which the subject is suspended in an essential vacillation is the gaze. The term was introduced into the psycho-analytic vocabulary by the French School. is the objet a. outside theory and. then. of all the objects in which the subject may recognize his dependence in the register of desire. Furthermore. he becomes that punctiform object. strictly speaking. the attention the subject brings to his own text. I have tried to show you in the fiction of the incomplete text—on the basis of which it is a question of recentring the subject as speaking in the very lacunae of that in which.

the annihilating subject. the lines of force. As the locus of the relation between me. in the function of the existence of others as looking at me. overwhelms him and reduces him to a feeling of shame. Others would remain suspended in the same. suddenly heard while out hunting. A gaze surprises him in the function of voyeur. The gaze sees itself—to be precise. if I see the eye. partially conditions that are. as conceived by Sartre. but a gaze imagined by me in the field of the Other. in a sort of radiated reticulation of the organisms. when I solicit a gaze. I no longer see the eye that looks at me and. in one of the most brilliant passages of L'Etre et le Xéant. I do not see it as a gaze. above all. and that which surrounds me. It is not true that. for we can give body to the gaze. The gaze in question is certainly the presence of others as such. is the gaze by which I am surprised—surprised in so far as it changes all the perspectives. I who look. The gaze I encounter—you can find this in Sartre's own writing —is. disturbs him. But does this mean that originally it is in the relation of subject to subject. And when are these sounds heard? At the moment when he has presented himself in the action of looking through a keyhole. the gaze that surprises me and reduces me to shame. since this is the feeling he regards as the most dominant. The gaze. from the point of nothingness where I am. for you to realize this. in Sartre's definition. have grasped this gaze as such in the mask and I have only to remind you of Goya. to a footstep heard in a corridor. he refers to the sound of rustling leaves. Painters. the gaze of which Sartre speaks. of my world. you will see that. the gaze seems to possess such a privilege that it goes so far as to have me scotomized. Sartre. not a seen gaze. those of objectivity. were it not for the gaze. far from speaking of the emergence of this gaze as of something that concerns the organ of sight. when I am under the gaze. for example. If you turn to Sartre's own text. Sartre writes. brings it into function in the dimension of the existence of others. that we apprehend what the gaze really is? Is it not clear that the gaze intervenes here only in as much as it is 84 . the eye of him who sees me as object. In so far as I am under the gaze. when I obtain it.OF THE GAZE The expression is not inapt. orders it. the gaze disappears. Is this a correct phenomenological analysis? No.

as it were.ANAMORPHOSIS not the annihilating subject. from 1533. By chance. I have made great use of the function of anamorphosis. in an oblique position in relation to the piece of paper. One supposes that I take away that which has helped in the construction. At least. in so far as it is an exemplary structure. correlative of the world of objectivity. is Baltrusaitis' book. by one object among others. I shall illustrate for you. namely. for those who would like to carry further what I tried to convey to you today. who feels himself surprised. I reproduce on the oblique surface each point of the image drawn on my sheet of paper. the image placed in my own visual field—the impression I will retain. What does a simple. by pouring ourselves. you see the blackboard. will be more or less the same. I 85 . Anamorp hoses. One reference. Suppose that. In my seminar. You can easily imagine what the result would be—you would obtain a figure enlarged and distorted according to the lines of what may be called a perspective. I will now pass around something that dates from a hundred earlier. what seems to me exemplary in a function that so curiously attracted so much reflection at the time. while remaining in that place. I will recognize the general 4mtlines of the image—at best. It is not for nothing that it was at the very period when the Cartesian meditation inaugurated in all its purity the function of the subject that the dimension of optics that I shall distinguish here by calling 'geometral' or 'flat' (as opposed to perspective) optics was developed. by means of a series of ideal threads or lines. I will have an identical Impression. a reproduction of a painting that. but the subject sustaining himself in a function of desire? Is it not precisely because desire is established here in the domain of seeing that we can make it vanish? 3 We can apprehend this privilege of the gaze in the function of desire. along the veins through which the domain of vision has been integrated into the field of desire. non-cylindrical anamorphosis consist of? Suppose there is a portrait on this flat piece of paper that I am holding.

imaginable. For the geometral space of vision—even if we include those imaginary parts in the virtual space of the mirror. The Lettre sur les aveugles a l'usage do ceux qui voient (Letter on the Blind for the use of those who see) will show you that this construction allows that which concerns vision to escape totally. and an artist. as you know. Vision is ordered according to a mode that may generally be called the function of images. I have spoken at length—is perfectly reconstructible. whether their image is virtual. we cannot fail to see. a point of perspective. by a blind man. in which the straight line plays its role of being the path of light. Whatever optical intermediaries may be used to establish their relation. Art is mingled with science here. to the relation of an image. you all know—Hans Holbein's The Ambassadors. that is to say. I shall come back to it shortly. which is itself a sort of geometral point. around the geometral perspective. the point-bypoint correspondence is essential. I should now like to refer you to Diderot. This function is defined by a point-by-point correspondence of two unities in space. can be called an image. What is at issue in geometral perspective is simply the map- ping of space. and it is around research on perspective that is centred a privileged interest for the domain of vision—whose relation with the institution of the Cartesian subject. Vitruvius's treatise on architecture is not far away.OF THE GAZE think. And. It will serve to refresh the memories of those who know the picture well. not sight. That which is of the mode of the image in the field of vision is therefore reducible to the simple schema that enables us to establish anamorphosis. The blind man may perfectly well conceive that the field of space that he knows. and which he 86 . in so far as it is linked to a surface. Anything that is determined by this method. on account of his dioptric constructions. Leonardo da Vinci is both a scientist. It is in Vignola and in Alberti that we find the progressive interrogation of the geometral laws of perspective. with a certain point that we shall call the 'geometral' point. or real. of which. Those who do not should examine it attentively. the picture—this is a very important function to which we shall return—is organized in a way that is quite new in the history of painting.

carried on the very long wall of one of its galleries and representing as if by chance St John at Patmos a picture that had to be looked at through a hole. but also threads—which will link each point that I have to see in the world to a point at which the canvas will. and every possible use has been made of it. on another surface. Baltrusaltis' book will tell you of the furious polemics that these practices gave rise to. what the field of vision as such offers us as the original subjectifying relation. is represented as the conjugated action of two sticks. dioptrics. namely. a treiss that will be traversed by straight lines—which are not necessarily rays. Distortion may lend itself—this was not the case for this particular fresco—to all the paranoiac ambiguities. be traversed. I will go so far as to say that this fascination complements what geometral researches into perspective allow to escape from vision. of the image that I would have obtained on the first.ANAMORPHOSIS knows as real. by this line. It was Dtkrer himself who invented the apparatus to establish perspective. I will have the pleasure of obtaining not the restoration of the world that lies at the end. the action of the eyes. I placed between that blackboard and myself. which once stood near the rue des Tournelles. but the distortion. therefore. The geometral dimension of vision does not exhaust. Durer's 'lucinda' is comparable to what. may be perceived at a distance. and I will dwell. This is why it is so important to acknowledge the inverted use of perspective in the structure of anamorphosis. and as a simultaneous act. on this method that makes anything appear at will in a particular stretching. How is it that nobody has ever thought of connecting this 87 . or more exactly a canvas. as on some delicious game. I would ask you to believe that such an enchantment took place in its time. In Descartes. instantaneity. now destroyed. from Arcimboldi to Salvador Dali. The convent of the Minims. a little while ago. and which culminated in works of considerable length. For him. that the lucinda was introduced. so that its distorting value could be appreciated to its full extent. If I reverse its use. it is a question of apprehending a temporal function. It was to establish a correct perspective image. far from it. a certain image. therefore.

Begin by walking out of the room in which no doubt it has long held your attention. whose signification is obviously less phallic than that of the object depicted in a flying position in the foreground of this picture. a dimension that has nothing to do with vision as such—something symbolic of the function of the lack. thus escaping the fascination of the picture. again. How can we not see here.OF THE GAZE with. . All this shows that at the very heart of the period in which the subject emerged and geometral optics was an object of research. the effect of an erection? Imagine a tattoo traced on the sexual organ ad hoc in the state of repose and assuming its. suspended. Holbein makes visible for us here something that is simply the subject as annihilated—annihilated in the form 88 . before this display of the domain of appearance in all its most fascinating forms. developed form in another state. At the same period. then. Dali's soft watches. at others to be tilted? You cannot know— for you turn away. What? A skull. aimed as much at the arts as the sciences. and these objects are all symbolic of the sciences and arts as they were grouped at the time in the trivium and quadrivium. Cornelius Agrippa wrote his . stiffened in their showy adornments. or. which the author compares to a cuttlebone and which for me suggests rather that loaf composed of two books which Dali was once pleased to place on the head of an old woman. What. . which from some angles appears to be flying through the air. Between them is a series of objects that represent in the painting of the period the symbols of vanitas. if I may say so. in The Ambassadors—I hope everyone has had time now to look at the reproduction —what do you see? What is this strange. This is not how it is presented at first—that figure.De Vanitate scientiarum. . oblique object in the foreground in front of these two figures? The two figures are frozen. immanent in the geometral dimension—a partial dimension in the field of the gaze. turning round as you leave—as the author of the Anamorphoses describes it—you apprehend in this form. indeed. chosen deliberately for her wretched. because she seems to be unaware of the fact. of the appearance of the phallic ghost? Now. is this object. . filthy appearance and. It is then that.

not the phallic symbol. in a wa. and that they have a topological definition —subject and real are to be situated on either side of the split. I would like you to explain in greater detail whatyou have already sketchedfor us. the apprehension of the gaze in the direction of desire. but that of desire. in its pulsatile.. But gradually one realizes that they are to be understood in their relation to one another. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS F. wizen you speak of the subject and of the real. which for us.ANAMORPHOSIS that is. The real is. It is because the subject in question is not that of the reflexive consciousness. and the subject of the cogito is treated in exactly the same way. LACAN : Look. In any picture. the imaged embodiment of the minus-phi [(—#)] of castration. We shall then see emerging on the basis of vision. an experience of resistance. to consider the terms in themselves... but the gaze as such. was not the fundamental experience of the gaze. in the following way: each term is sustained only in its topological relation with the others. WAH You have explained that the original apprehension of the gaze in the gaze of others. it is precisely in seeking the gaze in each of its points that you will see it disappear. LACAN: My discourse proceeds. in the resistance of the phantas. as described by Sartre. This picture is simply what any picture is. as it is in this picture. One thinks it is a question of the geometral eye-point. But it is further still that we must seek the function of vision. WAHL: But I don't understand how others will reappear in your discourse. I shall try to develop this further next time. centres the whole organization of the desires through the framework of the fundamental drives. 89 . the anamorphic ghost. LACAN: If one does not stress the dialectic of desire one does not understand why the gaze of others should disorganize the field of perception. whereas it is a question of a quite different eye—that which flies in the foreground of The Ambassadors. dazzling and spread out function. one is tempted. on first hearing.. strictly speaking. the main thing is that I don't come a cropper! WAHL: I would also like to say that. a trap for the gaze.

26 February 1964 9° . P. LACAN: I said that the gaze was not the eye. . I think Merleau-Ponty was moving in this direction—see the second part of the book.OF THE GAZE WARL: Is topology for you a method of discovery or of exposition? LACAN: It is the mapping of the topology proper to our experience as analysts. which may later be taken in a metaphysical perspective. but you have said nothing of the dilation of light. . his reference to the Wolf Man and to the finger of a glove. except in that flying form in which Holbein has the cheek to show me my own soft watch. I will talk about embodied light. KAUPMANN: You have provided us with a typical structure of the gaze. Next time.

its very presence. the Object Point QflIghS Piawe breast. etc.8 THE LINE AND LIGHT Desire and the picture. very simple triangular schema that I have reproduced at the top of the blackboard. Such discoveries teach us. to begin with. there is the eye. The story of a sardine can• The screen Mimicry• The organ.. When. I think I said enough to enable you to grasp the interest of this small. innocently enough. and it is striking to see that it goes back as far as the species that represent the appear- ance of life. appear in the evolution of living beings? The relation of the subject with the organ is at the heart of our experience. for example. did the function of the organ and. It is there simply to remind you in three terms of the optics 9' . Last time. Yet we must choose from among these things those that are most relative to our search. You no doubt eat oysters. all manner of things. it should be said. Tou never look at mefrom the place I see you The function of the eye may lead someone who is trying to enlighten you to distant explorations. Among all the organs with which we deal. without knowing that at this level in the animal kingdom the eye has already appeared. the faeces.

imagining. Anamorphosis shows us that it is not a question in painting of a realistic reproduction of the things of space—a term about which one could have many reservations. For us. but this ambiguity animates his text and gives it its mordant character. fixed in the picture. of the geometral dimension of vision in order to capture the subject. then turning around. in the field of vision. the kinships with the vanitas. in particular. no doubt an exceptional one. moving slightly away. speaking about everything that vision yields to us of space. in order to catch. No doubt. we are literally called into the picture. The little schema also allows me to remark that certain optics allow that which concerns vision to escape. captured. we see what the magical floating object signifies. therefore. that is to say. It reflects our own nothingness. the vanity of the arts and sciences—the secret of this picture is given at the moment when. the geometral dimension enables us to glimpse how the subject who concerns us is caught. little by little. in the perspective of the period. Diderot constructs a permanent equivocation with metaphysical implications. which shows to what extent the blind man is capable of taking account of. everything that recalls. and represented here as caught. nevertheless. reconstructing. the observer. in short. between the end of the fifteenth and the end of the seventeenth centuries. of showing us that. to the left. and one due to some moment of reflection on the part of the painter. It is a use. in the figure of the death's head. Such optics are within the grasp of the blind. which came to dominate the technique of painting.OF THE GAZE used in this operational montage that bears witness to the inverted use of perspective. an obvious way. to catch in its trap. manipulated. between the two splendidly dressed and immobile figures. remains enigmatic. I would almost say. whose implications I have pointed out to you. which is there to be looked at. us. but 92 . as subjects. For the secret of this picture. an obvious relation with desire which. What is the desire which is caught. I have already referred you to Diderot's Letire. It is. the way this fascinating picture presents. In Holbein's picture I showed you at once—without hiding any more than usual—the singular object floating in the fore- ground. on this possibility.

THE LINE AND LIGHT which also urges the artist to put something into operation? And what is that something? This is the path along which we shall try to move today. this much is certain. Philosophers. the variously proportioned and fundamentally homological relations. amounts to situating two points on a single thread. a single one of the double sides that the function of vision presents. It would seem. We would get him. the thread.L. to Kant. the light is propagated. in a straight line. functioning quite definitely as a thread. we always perceive more and more the extent to which they intersect. the correspondences from one point to another in space. a certain configuration that reproduces the mapping of the images—in the same way that we imagine. and quite brilliantly. In the domain that I have called that of the geometral. There is not a single one of the divisions. going back from Main. the last to have concerned himself with it. therefore. reflect that this thread has no need of light—all that is needed is a stretched thread. Now. and even to Plato. We would teach him to distinguish. all expatiate 93 . In effect. intertwining). providing we took some trouble in their presentation. as it were. then. you saw this thread last time linking us to each point of the object and. it seems at first that it is light that gives us. for example. and in a strange way—as is very well shown by Maurice Merleau-Ponty in the title of one of the chapters of . everything is a trap. by the sense of touch in his finger-ends.€ Visible ci l'invisible— (interlacing. Yet. then follow the stretched thread. on a surface. as one says. in pure optics. particularly enable us to apprehend what is provided by light. to finger an object of a certain height. I In this matter of the visible. which always. in the end. that it is light that gives us the thread. This is why the blind man would be able to follow all our demonstrations. How can we try to apprehend that which seems to elude us in this way in the optical structuring of space? It is always on this question that the traditional argument bears. This construction does not. in the place where it crosses the network in the form of a screen on which we are going to map the image. that is not manifested to us as a labyrinth. As we begin to distinguish its various fields.

it fills— the eye is a sort of bowl—it flows over. by stressing the fact that perception finds the object where it is. it floods. they all find themselves once again masters of the exercise. The whole trick. with vision in so far as it is situated in a space that is not in its essence the visuaL The essence of the relation between appearance and being. It functions within the cones. but it is refracted. in the form of a rhodopsin. In the eye. The relation of the subject with that which is strictly concerned with light seems. it is not that the eye has to be photo-sensitive —we know this. the hey presto!. derives from the fact that it deals with geometral vision. Light may travel in a straight line. The eyelid. that is to say. The iris reacts not only to distance. around the ocular bowl. that is. but also to light. defences. and this dimension can in no way be reduced to the functioning of vision. the complexity and. and that the appearance of the cube as a parallelogram is precisely. a whole series of organs. in a way. which the philosopher. of the classic dialectic around perception. at the same time. of course. you see this on. that the phenomenon shows to be infinitely complex. be damaged by it. the unity of the mechanisms concerned with light. the source from which reflections pour forth.OF THE GAZE on the supposed deceptiveness of perception—and. then. which might. what makes us perceive it as a cube. too. for example. in certain circumstances. first blinks. It also functions inside the various layers of the retina. it screws itself up in a well-known grimace. mechanisms. the play of light. and it has to protect what takes place at the bottom of the bowl. There is a certain adumbration of photo-sensitive organs in the pigmentary spots. the pigment functions fully. to be already somewhat ambiguous. owing to the rupture of space that underlies our very perception. fire. Indeed. when confronted with too bright a light. 94 . the schema of the two triangles. conquering the field of vision. so easily masters. This pigment comes and goes in functions that are not all. it necessitates. nor always immediately discoverable and clear. at the same time. lies elsewhere. diffused. but which suggest the depth. The whole surface of the tegument —no doubt for various reasons that are not visual—may be photo-sensitive. too. It is not in the straight line. Furthermore. but in the point of light—the point of irradiation.

The point of this little story. as it had occurred to my partner. in order to show you that its place is something other than the place of the geometral point defined by geometric optics.THE LINE AND LIGHT which are inverted at the same time as they must be placed one upon the other. One day. that I loved to share. which I pointed out above. as we were waiting for the moment to pull in the nets. It was looking at me at the level of the point of light. it was because in a sense. I thought about it. Why did I find it less amusing than he? It's an interesting question. It was a small can. a sardine can. being a young intellectual. in the country say. which at that time was a constant threat to the whole of that social class—this Petit-Jean pointed out to me something floating on the surface of the waves. To begin with. What you have here is the first example of this functioning of interlacing. And Petit-Jean said to me—You see that can? Dojou see it? Well. that the can did not see me. I was on a small boat. a witness to the canning industry. which we. At that time. were supposed to supply. It's a true story. intersection. then. Brittany was not industrialized as it is now. with a few people from a family of fishermen in a small port. It floated there in the sun. in fact. it was looking at me. The fisherman went out in his frail craft at his own risk. I will now tell you a little story. There were no trawlers. 95 . he died very young from tuberculosis. something physical. namely. that's what we called him—like all his family. It glittered in the sun. I wanted desperately to get away. I was in my early twenties or thereabouts— and at that time. of course. the point at which everything that looks at me is situated—and I am not speaking metaphorically. But it wasn't all danger and excitement—there were also fine days. throw myself into something practical. One day. or at the sea. this danger. and which structures the whole of this domain. see something different. all the same. In order to give you some idea of the question posed by this relation between the subject and light. had any meaning. an individual known as Petit-Jean. It was this risk. it doesn't see He found this incident highly amusing—I less so. if what Petit-Jean said to me. chiasma.

I am not simply that punctiform being located at the geometral point from which the perspective is grasped. from being a screen. something is painted—something that is not simply a constructed relation. but on the contrary because it is opaque—I mean the screen. in advance. and by means of that light in the depths of my eye. This is something that introduces what was elided in the geometral relation—the depth of field. to be situated in the same place as it. is the point of gaze. certainly. situated for me in its distance. solicits me at every moment. and it reflects something that is already to be found in the natural relation that the eye inscribes with regard to light. that is to say. In short. that which is between the two. the shimmering of a surface that is not. not because it can be traversed. is in my eye. at each point. and makes of the landscape something other than a landscape. while that which forms the mediation from the one to the other. It is rather it that grasps me. It is always that gleam of light—it lay at the heart of my little story—it is always this which prevents me. In what is presented to me as space of light. which operates. No doubt. something other than what I have called the picture. derives from the fact that. in the struggle with what for them was a pitiless nature—looked like nothing on earth. The correlative of the picture. with all its ambiguity and variability. optical space. at that moment—as I appeared to those fellows who were earning their livings with great difficulty. the picture is painted. I am taking the structure at the level of the subject here. I was rather out of place in the picture. something that plays an exactly reverse role. the object on which the philosopher lingers—but something that is an impression. 96 . And it was be- cause I felt this that I was not terribly amused at hearing myself addressed in this humorous. which is in no way mastered by me. But I am not in the picture. the point of gaze always participates in the ambiguity of the jewel. outside.OF THE GAZE the fact that he found it so funny and I less so. That which is light looks at me. is something of another nature than geometral. that which is gaze is always a play of light and opacity. ironical way. in the depths of my eye. if I am told a story like that one. The picture. In short. it is because I. from making the light appear as an iridescence that overflows it.

which I call the subject. Perceiving the effects of reflection of a field or a colour is quite different—it does have a subjective side to it. here we grasp the purely subjective function. the blue field will undergo some change. for example. is distinct from what is perceived by the subject. The relation between the subject and the picture has been 97 . Merleau- Ponty cleverly extracts from a mass of writing some very remarkable facts. There are many ways of being wrong about this function of the subject in the domain of the spectacle. certainly. Is that all there is to it? Is that what I am talking about when I speak of the relation between the subject and what I have called the picture? Certainly not. But. and which I regard as giving consistency to the picture. by two wheels. Certainly. or to the relevant frequency at this level of light vibration. all the elements of which we know. for example. must compose a certain tone of light—that this intervention alone reveals in a quite different way the composition in question. by means of a screen. but one arranged quite differently. which. which I earlier called the stain. for the play of light arranged in the experiment. the note of central mechanism that intervenes. two screens. everything that is colour is merely subjective—there is no objective correlative in the spectrum to enable us to attach the quality of colour to the wavelength. The word subject must not be understood here in the usual sense of the word. it is always in the form of the screen. part of a field functioning as a source of composite colours—produced. in the subjective sense—this relation is not an idealist relation. showing. in the ordinary sense of the word. Indeed. the spot. Let us. but it is situated differently. that simply the fact of masking. This overview.THE LINE AND LIGHT And if I am anything in the picture. 2 This is the relation of the subject with the domain of vision. one revolving behind the other. There is something objective here. there are plenty of examples in La P/iénoménologie de la perception of what happens behind the retina. for example. place a yellow field beside a blue field—by receiving the light reflected on the yellow field. is not simply a representative overview.

There are facts that can be articulated only in the phenomenal dimension of the overview by which I situate myself in the picture as stain—these are the facts of mimicry. if I may say so. in order to situate perception in a teleological perspective. it is nonetheless necessary. in so far as it is adapted completely. I would refer you to the specialized works on the subject—they are not only fascinating in themselves. probably with some relevance in certain cases—that coloration. it is merely a question of getting us to grasp what the perception of a draught-board is—a draughtboard belongs essentially to that geometral optics that I was careful to distinguish at the outset. In this direction. but they have. except in the most abstract way. Yet there is a phenomenal domain—infinitely more extended than the privileged points at which it appears—that enables us to apprehend. in the example he gives. Read the book by Raymond Ruyer called )uIo-finalisme. when. We are here in space panes extra parks.OF THE GAZE approached by certain philosophers. he is forced to situate the subject in an absolute overview. There is no need. therefore. to posit the subject in absolute overview. but they provide ample material for reflexion. I shall content myself with stressing what has not. which always provides such an objection to the apprehension to the object. g8 . is simply a way of defending oneself against light. It becomes green. been sufficiently brought out. an animalcule—there are innumerable ones that might serve as examples—becomes green for as long as the light may do it harm. in its true nature. and see how. from its effects. To begin with. I shall ask a question—how important is the function of adaptation in mimicry? In certain phenomena of mimicry one may speak perhaps of an adaptive or adapted coloration and realize. missed the point. perhaps. because of what is immediately around. for example—as Cuénot has shown. in order to reflect the light qua green. as at the bottom of a pooi contaming green plants. Even if we cannot give it being. the thing is irreducible. the subject in absolute overview. In an environment in which. the colour green predominates. This is not the place to go into all the more or less complex problems posed by the question of mimicry. thus protecting itself by adaptation.

on this basis. in the strictly technical sense. with that unquestionable penetration that is sometimes found in the non-specialist—his very distance may enable him to grasp certain implications in what the specialist has merely stated. On the other hand.THE LINE AND LIGHT But. against a mottled background. Mimicry reveals something in so far as it is distinct from what might be called an itself that is behind. what does it imitate? It imitates what. 99 . proves to be inoperant. Certain scientists claim to see in the register of coloration merely more or less successful facts of adaptation. that is to say. strictly speaking. camouflage. is a stain—at a particular phase of the briozoaires. as behaviour bound up with the needs of survival—practically nothing of this is to be found in mimicry. is the origin of mimicry. we are dealing with something quite different. intimidation. the fundamental dimensions of the inscription of the subject in the picture appear infinitely more justified than a more hesitant guess might suggest at first sight. Indeed. The effect of mimicry is camouflage. which. scarcely animals. This. known as briozoaires. at another phase. Caillois brings out the three headings that are in effect the major dimensions in which the mimetic activity is deployed—travesty. But the facts show that practically nothing that can be called adaptation—in the sense in which the term is usually understood. It is to this stain shape that the crustacean adapts it becomes a picture. And. It is not a question of harmonizing with the background but. there functions something like a coloured centre. in that quasi-plant animal known as the briozoaires. or operating strictly in the opposite direction from that which the adaptive result might be presumed to demand. an intestinal loop forms a stain. in mimicry. in most cases. to which is added the adjective When such a crustacean settles in the midst of those animals. I have already referred to what Caillois says about this in his little book Méduse et compagnie. it is inscribed in the picture. Let us take an example chosen almost at random—it is not a privileged case—that of the small crustacean known as caprella. it is in this domain that the dimension by which the subject is to be inserted in the picture is presented. of becoming mottled—exactly like the technique of camouflage practised in human warfare.

Finally. But when a human subject is engaged in making a picture of himself. for us. 3 In this direction. In both 100 . To imitate is no doubt to reproduce an image. which is found to play an essential role in it. wishes to be a subject. Nature shows us that this sexual aim is produced by all kinds of effects that are essentially disguise. The only objection one might make to this is that it seems to indicate.OF THE GAZE In the case of travesty. in the human being is manifested as art. in putting into operation that something that has as its centre the gaze. offers itself to the conquest of the subject. in so far as it is the field which. It is here that we should pause for a moment. to be inserted in a function whose exercise grasps it. for the subject. a remark of Caillois' should guide us. we should not be too hasty in introducing some kind of inter-subjectivity. in this instance. A level is constituted here quite distinct from the sexual aim itself. Let us now see what the unconscious function as such tells us. What is painting? It is obviously not for nothing that we have referred to as picture the function in which the subject has to map himself as such. and the art of painting is to be distinguished from all others in that. is something else. masquerade. Here too. Caillois assures us that the facts of mimicry are similar. it is as subject. The function of the lure. or painting. the phenomenon known as intimidation also involves this over-valuation that the subject always tries to attain in his appearance. to what. that the notion of painting is itself so clear that one can refer to it in order to explain something else. in the work. what is taking place? In the picture. it is. we should be very careful not to think too quickly of the other who is being imitated. But at bottom. and which must not be distinguished too hastily as being that of deception. others reply by stressing the object-like side of the art product. we are told by some. that the artist intends to impose himself on us. Whenever we are dealing with imitation. for René Caillois. the artist. something before which we should suspend judgement before we have properly measured its effects. as gaze. a certain sexual finality is intended. To this. at the animal level.

something that involves the abandonment. and perhaps merely illusion. This is quite absurd—function does not even explain the organ. in part. This is the Something is given not so much to the gaze as to the eye. Expressionist painting. which certainly does not exhaust the question. but that it is more complex. the painter wishes to be looked at. Whatever appears in the organism as an I0I . The problem is that a whole side of painting—expressionism —is separated from this field. as it might at first seem.THE LINE AND LIGHT these directions. and which is constituted by a pair of eyes. The painter knows this very well—his morality. his search. and this is its distinguishing feature. like a landscape by a Dutch or a Flemish painter. provides something by way of a certain satisfaction—in the sense in which Freud uses the term in relation to the drive—of a certain satisfaction of what is demanded by the gaze. literally. In other words. as in filigree. like the actor. his quest. might be summed up to see? Well. This relation is not. The function. you will see in the end. something so specific to each of the painters that you will feel the presence of the gaze. But this is merely an object of research. It might be thought that. that of being a trap for the gaze. I think there is a relation with the gaze of the spectator. want at least. pictures in which any representation of the human figure is absent. Looking at pictures. in the picture. weapons. we must now pose the question as to the exact status of the eye as organ. of the painting. I shall advance the following thesis—certainly. even those most lacking in what is usually called the gaze. it is said. offers his picture to be seen—has a relation with the gaze. The function of the picture—in relation to the person to whom the painter. take a look at this! He gives something for the eye to feed on. but he invites the person to whom this picture is presented to lay down his gaze there as one lays down one's Apollonian effect of painting. creates the organ. The painter gives something to the person who must stand in front of his painting which. of the gaze. something more or less appropriate is manifested. something of the gaze is always manifested. the lajing down. his practice is that he should sustain and vary the selection of a certain kind of gaze. I do not think so.

is that one does not realize that instinct is the way in which an organism has of extricating itself in the best possible way from an organ. or even to the sex. the chosen point of distinct vision. In my reference to the unconscious. it is clear that various functions come together. in the dialectic of the eye and the gaze. we are dealing with that organ—determined in the subject by the inadequacy organized in the castration complex —that we can grasp to what extent the eye is caught up in a similar dialectic. You will be able to see it only if you fix your eye to one side. In the eye. since it is this last field. supposedly created to perceive things in diminished lighting. There are many examples. if it is possible to give any specific reference to this term. which provides the maximum possibility of perceiving the effects of light. But here. chiasma is to be found. namely. sexuality. It is a question rather of the relation to the phallus. do not look straight at it—this is known as the Arago phenomenon. a hyper-development of an organ. The discriminatory function is isolated to the maximum degree at the level of the fovea. These functions of the eye do not exhaust the character of the organ in so far as it emerges on the couch. Some- thing quite different occurs over the rest of the surface of the retina. a lure. on the contrary. that there is no coincidence. It is not a question of the relation to. a reference that is so confused.OF THE GAZE organ is always presented with a large multiplicity of functions. What is wrong about the reference to instinct. From the outset. of cases in which the organism succumbs to an excess. at the heart of the experience of the unconscious. It is in as much as. we see. I am dealing with the relation to the organ. in as much as it is lacking in the real that might be attained in the sexual goal. We are astonished by the so-called pre-adaptations of instinct. but. in the animal kingdom. If you wish to see a star of the fifth or six size. incorrectly distinguished by specialists as the locus of the scotopic function. The supposed function of instinct in the relation between organism and organ certainly seems to have been defined as a kind of morality. 102 . and in so far as the eye determines there what every organ determines. duties. The extraordinary thing is that the organism can do anything with its organ at all. too.

is to be found the same function of the objet a as can be mapped in all the other dimensions. I solicit a look. of the phallus. we shall return to this function of the eye and the gaze. is a play. Zeuxis has the advantage of having made grapes that attracted the birds. it is the nothing. a veil so lifelike that Zeuxis. if beyond appearance there is nothing in itself. Conversely. At the oral level. Next time. This is proved by the fact that his friend Parrhasios triumphs over him for having painted on the wall a veil. the eye seeks relaxation from the gaze? LACAN: I shall take up here the dialectic of appearance and its beyond. And the relation that I mentioned earlier. SAP 0 UAN: In the contemplation of the picture. By this he showed that what was at issue was certainly deceiving the eye (tromper l'ail). The stress is placed not on the fact that these grapes were in any way perfect grapes. not as such. secondly. a play of trompe-l'wil. but in so far as it is lacking. Well. firstly. zf I have understood you correctly. I'll explain at once what I mean. between the painter and the spectator. and now show us what you have painted behind it. in so far as that from which 103 . there is the gaze. It must. in saying that. that is to say. what I look at is never what I wish to see. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS M. In the classical tale of Zeuxis and Parrhasios.THE LINE AND LIGHT When. SAFOUAN: Beyond the appearance. but on the fact that even the eye of the birds was taken in by them. turning towards him said. in so far as the drive operates there. that has some relation to the lack. or the gaze? LACAN: At the level of the scopic dimension. The objet a is something from which the subject. in order to constitute itself. if by this you mean some reference or other to a subjacent reality. therefore. in love. There is no reference here to what is incorrectly called figurative. whatever one says. has separated itself off as organ. This serves as a symbol of the lack. be an object that is. A triumph of the gaze over the eye. what is profoundly unsatisfying and always missing is that—rou never look at me from the place from which I see you. separable and. It is in this relation that the eye as organ is situated. is there a lack.

give what is to be given. The anal level is the locus of metaphor—one object for another. It is in this way that the eye may function as objet a. Generally speaking. where one cannot. we are no longer at the level of demand. as privation. but of desire. as a result of the lack. The subject is presented as other than he is. at the level of the lack (— 4 March 1964 104 . That is why. And this is especially true of the materialist. in his morality. This will enable you to grasp obliquely how the object of weaning may come to function at the level of castration. and what one shows him is not what he wishes to see. Where one is caught short. It is the same at the level of the invocatory drive. give the façces in place of the phallus. that is to say. the relation between the gaze and what one wishes to see involves a lure. what the child eats is the nothing. of the gift. man is inscribed at the anal level. At the scopic level. This shows you why the anal drive is the domain of oblativity. of the desire of the Other. one can always give something else.OF THE GAZE the subject was weaned is no longer anything for him. which is the closest to the experience of the unconscious. In anorexia nervosa.

The objet a in the field of the visible is the gaze. translated as 'envy'. the point of the geometral subject. as=(—#) We can grasp in effect something which. which I have always indicated in a univocal way by the algorithm I don't know whether you can see the blackboard. 'to offer to the view'. and the second is that which turns me into a picture. Below this. such as a picture. I have drawn the two triangular systems that I have already introduced—the fIrst is that which. to see. On the right-hand line is situated. puts in our place the subject of the representation. I must keep to the wager to which I committed myself in choosing the terrain in which the objet a is most evanescent in its function of symbolizing the central lack of desire. 'Donner-à-voir means literally 'to give to be seen' and. I have written: f in nature 1.]. from videre. then. is to a situation in which the gaze is tamed by some object. 1 The sense of the verb dompter is 'to tame'. 105 . but as usual I have marked out a few reference-points. 'to subdue'. in the geometral field. enclosed in a chain bracket. as Lacan points out. and it is on that line that I. derives. appropriates the gaze to the function to which it may be put in the symbolic relation in man. the apex of the first triangle. then. then. The Latin invidia. After which. The reference. The backward glance Gesture and touch Le donner-à-voir and invidia2 Today. therefore.9 WHAT IS A PICTURE? Being and its semblance• The lure of the screen Dompte-regard and trompe-l'teil'. Lacan has invented the phrase dompte-regard as a counterpart to the which has of course passed into the English language notion of [Tr. alreaay in nature.

at the most profound level. to begin with.OF THE GAZE too. as I often do. I am looked at. and that there is. a splitting of the being to which the being accommodates itself. Hence it comes about that the gaze . i o6 . the thing. The gaze The subjec of representasien I I must. the gaze is outside. But. I assure myself as a consciousness that knows that it is only representation. In my opinion. for example. For my part. From that point of view. then. insist on the following: in the scopic field. that is to say. in a fragmented am photo-graphed. beyond. even in the natural world. What determines me. when I am presented with a representation. really—everything works out for the best. I am a picture. This is the function that is found at the heart of the institution of the subject in the visible. because my transcendental categories. The two triangles are here superimposed. as in fact they are in the functioning of the scopic register. turn myself into a picture under the gaze. in the visible. What is at issue here is not the philosophical problem of representation. it is not in this dialectic between the surface and that which is beyond that things are suspended. which is inscribed at the apex of the second triangle. I may not be able to do anything about it. as Kant would say. I assure myself that I know quite a lot about it.is the instrument through which light is embodied and through which—if you will allow me to use a word. the thing itselL Behind the phenomenon. It is through the gaze that I enter light and it is from the gaze that I receive its effects. is the gaze that is outside. there is the noumenon. I set out from the fact that there is something that establishes a fracture. a bi-partition. do just as they please and force me to take the thing in their way. that's all right.

It is through this separated form of himself that the being comes into play in his effects of life and death. that is realized the conjunction from which proceeds the renewal of beings in reproduction. unlike the animal. usually on the part of the male animal. how the screen re-establishes things. entirely caught up in this imaginary capture. or in the case of grimacing swelling by which the animal enters the play of combat in the form of intimidation. Last time. in effect. the being breaks up. The lure plays an essential function therefore. Only the subject—the human subject. between its being and its semblance. It is not something else that seizes us at the very level of clinical experience. from well-chosen examples based on the experiments of Gelb and Goldstein. most intense way. an effect of lighting dominates us. How? In so far as he isolates the function of the screen and plays with it.WHAT IS A PICTURE? This fact is observable in the variously modulated scale of what may be included. for example. an envelope. in relation to what one might imagine of the attraction to the other pole as conjoining masculine and feminine. by being isolated. a double. He maps himself in it. ultimately. In both situations. It is no doubt through the mediation of masks that the masculine and the feminine meet in the most acute. the subject of the desire that is the essence of man—is not. a thrown-off skin. both in sexual union and in the struggle to the death. if. the being gives of himself. a beam of light directing our gaze so captivates us that it appears as a milky cone and prevents us from seeing 107 . simply at the perceptual level. in their status as real. or of oneself. knows how to play with the mask as that beyond which there is the gaze. In the case of display. when. under the general heading of mimicry. one can already see. thrown off in order to cover the frame of a shield. It is this that comes into play. between itself and that paper tiger it shows to the other. Man. in an extraordinary way. I alluded to the reference given by Maurice Merleau-Ponty in La Phénoménologie de la perception in which. The screen is here the locus of mediation. and it might be said that it is with the help of this doubling of the other. we apprehend the prevalence of that which is presented as travesty. something that is like a mask. quite obviously. If. or receives from the other.

vanishing traces. this central field cannot but be absent. For this term eliminates their principal effect. in short. in front of the picture. Consequently. reality appears only as marginal.OF THE GAZE what it illuminates. and allows the object it concealed to emerge. into the shadow. as being more exemplary than any other. which cuts into that which is illuminated without being seen. the mere fact of introducing into this field a small screen. This is the central field. this is the phenomenon of a relation that is to be taken in a more essential function. and replaced by a hole—a reflection. I am elided as subject of the geometral plane. At the perceptual level. strictly speaking. makes the milky light retreat.-and in as much as the picture enters into a relation to desire. Indeed. is marginal This is certainly one of the features that scarcely seems to have been noticed in pictorial creation. Yet rediscovering in the picture what is. Its end and effect are elsewhere. there nevertheless figures. This is why the picture does not come into play in the field of representation. which is precisely that by which. composition. In every picture. there is something whose absence can always be observed in a picture—which is not the case in perception. of the pupil behind which is situated the gaze. By a sort of irony. on the back of this book. as it were. lines of force. frames (Mtis) in which the image finds its status is a fascinating game—but I am astonished that in one very remarkable book they are called frameworks (charpentes). the lines dividing the surfaces created by the painter. namely. the place of a central screen is always marked. where the separating power of the eye is exercised to the maximum in vision. a picture by Rouault on which is traced a circular line to enable us to grasp the main point. io8 . that in its relation to desire.

things look at me. a taming of the gaze. that things are looking at them. which is always such a tricky matter. I will explain what I mean.WHAT IS A PICTURE? 2 In the scopic field. you saw clearly enough last time that after declaring that there is in painting a certain dompte-regard. if I am to believe the painter André Masson. This is how one should understand those words. and I shall try to avoid any such confusion. For those who remain unconvinced. If one considers all the modulations imposed on painting by the variations of the subjectifijing structure that have occurred in history. I am thinking of the work of such painters as Munch. Of course. and whose views count for a great deal with me. or even of that painting which. This is why I have introduced painting into our field of exploration by the narrow door offered by us by Roger Caillois —everyone noticed last time that I made a slip of the tongue in calling him René. is the most immediate question. so strongly stressed. one might situate in a geographical way as laying siege to that which in our time is concentrated in paint- ing in Paris. Kubin. those infinitely varied tricks. that he who looks is always led by the painting to lay down his gaze. those ruses. in man. that is to say. heaven knows why—in observing that mimicry is no doubt the equivalent of the function which. Well! 109 . that is the danger. it is clear that no formula can possibly embrace those aims. curiously enough. with whom I was talking recently. everything is articulated between two terms that act in an antinomic way—on the side of things. in the Gospel. This is not the occasion to begin a psycho-analysis of the painter. and yet I see them. When will we see the limits of this siege lifted? That. Indeed. I immediately introduced the corrective that it is nevertheless in a quite direct appeal to the gaze that expression- ism is situated. that is to say. and yet someone who is close tome. They have eyes that they might not see. there is the gaze. James Ensor. Nor is it a question of art criticism. told me that he was very troubled when I embarked on something very like art criticism. and which always produces a shocked reaction on the part of the listener. That they might not see what? Precisely. is exercised in painting.

is not to enter into the shifting. in Freud. I would stress that it is in setting out from painting that Maurice Merleau-Ponty was particularly led to overthrow the relation. that he tries to find the function that the artist's original phantasy played in his creation—his relation to those two mothers Freud sees represented in the painting in the Louvre or in the cartoon in London. when he studies Leonardo. And what is that? Where does that get us? It already gives form and embodiment to the field in which the psycho-analyst has advanced since Freud. To begin with. for a particular author at a particular time. What he has shown in a quite admirable way. branching at the level of the waist.OF THE GAZE To point out references like these. which has always been made by thought. with what. which seems to blossom from the entwined legs at the base. he does not know. Nevertheless. When he is dealing with painters and poets. between the eye and the mind. a dream painting. it is at the radical principle of the function of this fine art that I am trying to place myself. what. roughly speaking. by that double body. so rare that it 110 . beginning with what he calls. Freud always stressed with infinite respect that he did not intend to settle the question of what it was in artistic creation that gave it its true value. let us say. is crazy daring. is the value of artistic creation. is that the function of the painter is something quite different from the organization of the field of representation in which the philosopher held us in our status as subjects. except in a painting that sometimes emerges. He cannot say. which tries to grasp what is the function of painting at a particular moment. those touches that fall like rain from the painter's brush. soon becomes imprudence. those little whites. historical game of criticism. Is it in this direction that we must look? Or should we see the principle of artistic creation in the fact that it seems to extract—remember how I translated Vorstellungsreprasentanz—that something that stands for representation? Was it to this that I was leading you when I made a distinction between the picture and representation? Certainly not—except in very rare works. with Cezanne himself. those little blues. there is a point at which his appreciation stops. in those who follow him. and what. for everybody. For me. those little browns. for those who look or hear.

that is to say. for why should the birds see grapes portrayed with III . like those we can see in the basket held by Caravaggio's Bacchus in the Uffizi. the ambiguity of two levels. that their desire to contemplate finds some satisfaction in it. and of the value it assumes in a social field. But for this to satisfy them so much. which situates its function as being very distinct from that of painting. all the same. In this sense. namely. For me. If the birds rushed to the surface on which Zeuxis had deposited his dabs of colour. it is not very likely that the birds would have been deceived. that of the natural function of the lure and that of trompe-l'ail. It elevates the mind. Yet I did not hesitate to end my last talk by observing. and which con- cerns only the success of the work. for that part of society that comes under its influence. be termed secondary—it is because its effect has something profitable for society. If the grapes had been painted in this way. dompte-regard is also presented in the form of trompe-l'ail. comforts them. one can say that the work calms people. in the opposition of the works of Zeuxis and Parrhasios. takes on commercial value—a gratification that may. Freud declares that if a creation of desire. That which is the creation of the painter is structured in a quite different way. that is to say. it is a question of creation as Freud designated it. In a way that is at once vague and precise. as one says. let us observe that the success of such an undertaking does not imply in the least that the grapes were admirably reproduced. it encourages renunciation. perhaps the time has come when we may question to advantage—because our new algorithms allow us to articulate the answer better —what is involved in artistic creation. by showing them that at least some of them can live from the exploitation of their desire. perhaps this is the limit at which we would have to designate what is called psychopathological art. as sublimation. there must also be that other effect. Indeed. Don't you see that there is something here that indicates the function I called dompte-regard? As I said last time. Broadly speaking.WHAT IS A PICTURE? can scarcely be situated in the function of painting. taking the picture for edible grapes. which is pure at the level of the painter. Precisely to the extent that we restore the point of view of structure in the libidinal relation. I appear to be moving in the opposite direction from tradition.

and a patron of the same stamp. This other thing is the petit a. as if it were an activity competing with his own. The point is that the trompe-l'ail of painting pretends to be something other than what it is. The point is not that painting gives an illusory equivalence to the object. 112 . we are able to realize that the representation does not move with the gaze and that it is For it appears at that moment as somemerely a thing other than it seemed. The artist always has some financial body behind him and it is always a question of the objet a. it is said. It is because the picture is the appearance that says it is that which gives the appearance that Plato attacks painting. one might say. is a patron. strike you as being rather mythical—to an a with which—this is true in the last resort—it is the painter as creator who sets up a dialogue. one takes a lease. something that incites him to ask what is behind it. even if Plato seems to be saying this. in some- thing representing grapes for the birds. with the holy image. It is here that this little story becomes useful in showing us why Plato protests against the illusion of painting. But the situation is not fundamentally changed with the advent of the picture dealer. The picture does not compete with appearance. no longer depends on aristocratic patrons. by a mere shift of our gaze. What is it that attracts and satisfies us in When is it that it captures our attention and delights us? At the moment when. too. it was the religious institution. The painter. that gave artists a living. If one tries to represent the position of the painter concretely in history. around which there revolves a combat of which trompe-l'ril is the soul.OF THE GAZE such extraordinary verisimilitude? There would have to be something more reduced. something closer to the sign. it competes with what Plato designates for us beyond appearance as being the Idea. what one presents to him is the painting of a veil. Before the aristocratic patron. or rather a question of reducing it—which may. He. that is to say. at all times. or rather it now seems to be that something else. at a certain level. one realizes that he is the source of something that may pass into the real and on which. But the opposite example of Parrhasios makes it clear that if one wishes to deceive a man.

it is because they give pleasure to the other gods. But ''3 . Nothing new is introduced in this respect by the epoch that Andre Mairaux distinguishes as the modern. whiôh was already emerging at the religious level. Let us go tothegreathallof theDoges' Palaceinwhich arepainted all kinds of battles. but there is more to it than that. Where we are. He is certainly alone in this. Let us pass now to the next stage. What makes the value of the icon is that the god it represents is also looking at it. You see. And what do the audiences see in these vast compositions. But I do not want to go too far today in a direction that would take us right to the heart of one of the most essential elements of the province of the Names-of-the-Father: a certain pact may be signed beyond every image. God is the creator of certain images—we see this in Genesis. such as the battle of Lepanto. There always was a gaze behind. They see the gaze of those persons who. the image remains a go-between with the divinity—if Javeh forbids the Jews to make idols. namely. In a certain register it is not God who is not anthropomorphic. that which comes to be dominated by what he calls 'the incomparable monster'. of of course. when the audience are not there. it is man who is begged not to be so. in this case images. with the Zelem Elohim. At this level. The social function. Indeed. the audiences. But that's enough of that. Icons—the Christ in triumph in the vault at Daphnis or the admirable Byzantine mosaics—undoubtedly have the effect of holding us under their gaze. deliberate in this hail. Who comes here? Those who form what Retz calls 'lespeuples'. which claims to impose itself as being the only gaze. It is intended to please God. is now becoming clear. one can say that there are always lots of gazes behind. etc. It is something to do with the gaze. Behind the picture. And iconoclastic thought itself still preserves this when it declares there is a god that does not care for this. that may arouse the desire of God. We might stop there.WHAT IS A PICTURE? But it is much more instructive to see how the a functions in its social repercussions. which I shall call communal. or the motive it satisfies in being presented to us. but were we to do so we would not really grasp the motive that made the painter set about making this icon. it is their gaze that is there. the gaze of the painter. the artist is operating on the sacrificial plane—he is playing with those things.

whatever. That which in the identificatory dialectic of the signifier and the spoken will be projected forward as haste. at the outset of any new intelligence. but something else. in the scopic dimension. from this sovereignty.OF THE GAZE —this is the most subtle point—where does this gaze come from? 3 We now come back to the little blues. We are faced here with something that gives a new and different meaning to the term regression—we are faced with the element of motive in the sense of response. the end. enables us to imagine the most perfect deliberation in each of these brush strokes. will be called the moment of seeing. inoperant. fall like rain from the painter's brush is not choice. will be presented before this product. enlarged by the distension of time. no doubt. its own stimulus. This is an illusion. he says. that of the terminal moment. behind it. A sovereign act. Can we not try to formulate what this something else is? Should not the question be brought closer to what I called the rain of the brush? If a bird were to paint would it not be by letting fall its feathers. will render obsolete. in so far as it produces. that by which the original temporality in which the relation to the other is situated as distinct is here. Maurice Merleau-Ponty draws attention to the paradox of this gesture which. The important point is that Matisse himself was overwhelmed by the film. on the contrary. coming from elsewhere. excluded. or again to the delightful example that Maurice Merleau-Ponty gives in passing in his Signes. This terminal moment is that which enables us to distinguish between a gesture and an act. It is by means of the gesture that I 14 . namely. which go to make up the miracle of the picture. What occurs as these strokes. is here. a tree by letting fall its leaves? What it amounts to is the first act in the laying down of the gaze. little whites. since it passes into something that is materialized and which. that strange slow-motion film in which one sees Matisse painting. Let us not forget that the painter's brushstroke is something in which a movement is terminated. that which. a snake by casting off its scales. There. little browns of Cezanne.

the evil eye. But how can we express this? The subject is not completely aware of it— he operates by remote control. And. But this power to separate goes much further than distinct vision. It is striking. this value is to be sought on a much less elevated plane than might be supposed. The powers that are attributed to it. a descent of desire. except that the eye carries with it the fatal function of being in itself endowed—if you will allow me to play on several registers at once—with a power to separate. The most exemplary invidia. of drying up the milk of an animal on which it falls—a belief as widespread in our time as in any other. What we see here. again. the eye filled with voracity. of an eye that blesses. as having more affinity with the gesture than with any other type of movement. at the end of which is the showing (Ic donner. namely. if there is not some How could this showing appetite of the eye on the part of the person looking? This appetite of the eye that must be fed produces the hypnotic value of painting. For me. is that the gaze operates in a certain descent. in that which is the true function of the organ of the eye. The direction of the gesture of the hand indicates sufficiently this lateral symmetry. and in the most civilized countries—of bringing with it disease or misfortune—where can we better picture this power than in invidia? Invidia comes from videre. then. it is this insertion in the gesture that means that one cannot turn it upside down—whether or not it is figurative. What can this mean. All action represented in a picture appears to us as a battle scene. as something theatrical. something. the formula I have of desire as unconscious—man's desire is the desire of the Other—I would say that it is a question of a sort of desire on the part of the Other. If you turn a transparency around. that is to say. no doubt. when one thinks of the universality of the function of the evil eye. And so true is it that the gesture is always present there that there can be no doubt that the picture is first felt by us. as the terms impression or impressionism imply.d-voir). you realize at once if it is being shown to you with the left in the place of the right.WHAT IS A PICTURE? the brushstroke is applied to the canvas. for us 115 . necessarily created for the gesture. that there is no trace anywhere of a good eye.

for example? It is not a blow that is interrupted. What the small child. envies is not at all necessarily what he might want —avoir envia. It is to this register of the eye as made desperate by the gaze that we must go if we are to grasp the taming. that of the little child seeing his brother at his mother's breast. One fights as one has always fought since time immemorial. as a threatening gesture it is inscribed behind. namely. is the one I found long ago in Augustine. which I have defined by the term arrest and which creates its signification behind it. in which he sums up his entire fate. looking at him amare conspectu. which seems to tear him to pieces and has on himself the effect of a poison. In order to understand what invidia is in its function as gaze it must not be confused with jealousy. before the idea that the petit a. civilizing and fascinating power of the function of the picture. Befriedigung. as one improperly puts it. much more with gestures than with blows. Such is true envy—the envy that makes the subject pale before the image of a completeness closed upon itself. Who can say that the child who looks at his younger brother still needs to be at the breast? Everyone knows that envy is usually aroused by the possession of goods which would be of no use to the person who is envious of them. It is this very special temporality. the separated a from which he is hanging.veen gesture and the moment of seeing? LACAN: What is a gesture? A threatening gesture. ii6 . What is very remarkable in the Peking Opera—I don't know whether you saw them on their recent visit—is the way fighting is depicted. I may carry it to its logical conclusion later. or whoever. that makes the distinction between the gesture and the act.OF THE GAZE analysts. The profound relation between the a and desire will serve as an example when I introduce the subject of the transference. but. with a bitter look. TORT: Could you say more about the relation you posited beh. may be for another the possession that gives satisfaction. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS M. It is certainly something that is done in order to be arrested and suspended. and about the true nature of which he does not have the least idea.

in traditional combat. The creator will never participate in anything other than the creation of a small dirty deposit. LACAN: Look. the spectacle itself is content with an absolute dominance of gestures. in another dialectic that I called the dialectic of identificatory haste.WHAT IS A PICTURE? Of course. the moment of seeing. it is because we do not have these feathers. I would like to say more about something for which I was not able. In these ballets. You mustn't imagine that this is over and done with! When fighting the Japanese. the American marines were taught to make as many grimaces as they. but they are certainly not identical. that is to say. in the skit. Let us hope that they will remain such! The authenticity of what emerges in painting is diminished in us human beings by the fact that we have to get our colours where they're to be found. Everyone knows that primitive peoples go into battle with grimacing. what I noticed there was the suture. I wanted you to say more about that temporality to which you already referred once. I put as the first time. references that you have made elsewhere to logical time. they move in different spaces in which are spread out whole series of gestures. horrible masks and terrifying gestures. I place strictly in relation to what I later say about the evil eye. nevertheless have the value of weapons. that exists between what I called the time of terminal arrest of the gesture and what. a succession of small dirty deposits juxtaposed. Take those dances I mentioned—they are always punctuated by a series of times of arrest in which the actors pause in a 117 . which completes the gesture. it seems to me. The gaze in itself not only terminates the movement. for lack of time. the pseudo-identification. it freezes it. namely. no two people ever touch one another. since one is initial and the other is terminal. Our more recent weapons might also be regarded as gestures. which. Does this explanation satisfy you? Was that the question you asked me? To Xo. This terminal time of the gaze. It is through this dimension that we are in scopic creation —the gesture as displayed movement. to give you the necessary indications. and which presupposes. The two overlap. If I referred to birds who might let fall their feathers. in the sense that they may well be effective as instruments of intimidation.

LACAN: What is prophylactic about such things is. What is that thrust. literally. the subject is not essentially indeterminate. like the turpicula res. which is concluded in the fascinum. I think. like the evil eje. the so-called prophylactic function is introduced. At the moment the subject stops. The evil eye is the fascinum. that is to say. For it is in so far as all human desire is based on castration that the eye assumes its virulent. of killing life. and which is linked. obliquely. a conjunction of the imaginary and the symbolic. forward movement. The moment of seeing can intervene here only as a suture. thrust. The anti-life. In the scopic field. and it is taken up again in a dialectic. whether it is a question of a horn. that sort of temporal progress that is called haste. or innumerable other things whose appearance is clearer. for example. and it is precisely one of the dimensions in which the power of the gaze is exercised directly. Does that satisfy you more? Completely? TORT: Almost. anti-movement function of this terminal point is the fascinum. What I wish to emphasize is the total distinction between the scopic register and the invocatory. in order to ward it off. not to an arrest. Thus. but to a movement. suspending his gesture.OF THE GAZE frozen attitude. F. aggressive function. the fascinatory element introduced by the gaze. that time of arrest of the movement? It is simply the fascinatory effect. one might say. vocatory. whether or not made of coral. WAHL: You have left to one side a phenomenon that is situated. I was thinking that in the Bible. there must be passages in which the eye confers the baraka or blessing. The eye may ii8 . which is quite simply a phallus. It has a protective function that lasts for the duration of a journe). in that it is a question of dispossessing the evil eye of the gaze. The subject is strictly speaking determined by the very separa- tion that determines the break of the a. One can find among these amulets forms in which a counter-eye emerges—this is homeopathic. described by Varro. There are a few small places where I hesitated—but no. he is mortified. it is that which has the effect of arresting movement and. and not simply its luring function as in nature. and which is the prophflactic eje. vocational field. in the Mediterranean civilizations. allopathic.

I suggested that the few whiffs of the unconscious to be detected in his notes might have led him to pass. if Merleau-Pontj is seeking to subvert Cartesian space. or to that so-called pre-objective. savage. -A.WHAT IS A PICTURE? be prophylactic. .. is it in order to open up the transcendental space of the relation to the Other? Xo. I'm not at all sure. you have said that MerleauPonty's research converged with your own. into my field. J . but there are evil eyes all over the place. in a Cartesian space. MiLLER: To continue. LACAN: I did not say that. let us say.. On the other hand.Wow. You have even maintained that he laid down the reference-points of the unconscious. ii March 1964 "9 . you have explained that the subject cannot be located in the dimension of quantity or measure. primordial world. but it cannot be beneficent—it is maleficent. This leads me to ask you if Le Visible et l'invisible has led you to change anything in the article that you published on Merleau-Ponty in a number of Les Temps Modernes? LACAN: Absolutely nothing. In the Bible and even in the New Testament. it is in order to accede either to the socalled dimension of inter-subjectivity. there is no good eye. MILLER: On several occasions recently.

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The Transference and the Drive .

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This apportions our tasks. A rather vague distinction is then made between a positive and a negative transference.I0 PRESENCE OF THE ANALYST Problems of the transference. But Freud himself did not weigh down the scales in this direction—far from it. Not least among the consequences of the experience of the transference was that it led Freud to take the question of what is ailed true love. commentators are more prudent. further perhaps than it had ever been taken. Let us hope that we will measure up to them. It is generally assumed. as I promised I would do in my second ta& I The transference is usually represented as an affect. in the way it is used here. In the case of the negative transference. To come to the point. a shadow of love. and 123 . that the positive transference is love—though It must be said that. On it is written the following motto: the art of listening is almost as important as that of saying the right thing. in the way they refer to it. Obscurantism in article in The International Journal Ablata The Other. eine echte Lisbe. someone gave me a very large box. already there• The unconscious is outside An So that I would not always have to be looking for a box of matches. more restrained. At a very early stage. this term is employed in a very approximate way. it is usually maintained that in these circumstances It Is a sort of false love. as you can see. Today I shall be dealing with the transference. in the hope of giving you some idea of the concept. or rather I shall approach the question. not without some foundation. Freud posed the question of the iuthenticity of love as it occurs in the transference.

I 24 . and that. even more than the first.THE TRANSFERENCE AND THE DRIVE it is never identified with hate. It might seem to settle the question at the outset if we could decide whether or not the transference is bound up with analytic practice. In any case. we may say that this situation cannot create the phenomenon in its entirety. has carried as far as possible the attempt to articulate the transference in this direction. Hence the expression—which is always added as a kind of after-thought or parenthesis. This concept is determined by the function it has in a particular praxis. as when one says that it structures all the particular relations with that other who is the analyst. not to say an artefact. They usually employ the term ambivalence. Ida Macalpine. approaching the question in this way does not settle it. and the negative transference is when you have to keep your eye on him. in any sense. as if to convey some kind of suspicion. one of the many authors who have been led to express their opinions on the transference. It would be truer to say that the positive transference is when you have a soft spot for the individual concerned. accept this extreme position. confused things that are not always handled in a satisfactory way. outside the analytic situation. remain satisfied with this. of course. and that the value of all the thoughts that gravitate around this relation must be connoted by a sign of particular reserve. whether it is a product. Even if we must regard the transference as a product of the analytic situation. This concept directs the way in which patients are treated. Conversely. There is another use of the term transference that is worth pointing out. a term which. when used about the behaviour of a subject—he is in full transference. This presupposes that his entire mode of apperception has been restructured around the dominant centre of the transference. of analytic practice. We cannot. the analyst in this instance. the way in which they are treated governs the concept. since our aim is to approach the concept of the transference. I will not go any further because this double semantic mapping seems to me to be adequate for the moment. there must be. conceals things very well. in order to produce it. Whatever her merits—she is a very stubborn person—let me say at once that I cannot.

Nevertheless. analysis will make it possible to give them an experimental model that need not necessarily be at all different from the model I shall call the natural one. you will remember. The presence of the analyst is itself a manifestation of the unconscious. of the doxa that goes with it. so that when it is manifested nowadays in certain encounters. It is simply that. is a truism. the rather sticky caress to be found in a book that has appeared under this title. Presence of the analyst—a fine phrase that should not be reduced to the tear-jerking sermonizing. transference effects that may be structured exactly like the gamut of transference phenomena in analysis. It should be enough. where it acquires its structural foundations. that there may be. after all. 125 . where no analyst is in view. I was unable to separate from the presence of the analyst. in discovering these effects. then. This in no way excludes the possibility. in some people's thinking—this very fact must be integrated into the concept of the unconscious. 2 The aim of this introduction is to remind you that if we are to approach the fundamentals of psycho-analysis we must introduce a certain coherence into the major concepts on which it is based. Such a coherence is already to be found in the way I have approached the concept of the unconscious—which. the serous inflation. to open up this package in the sphere of analysis and. of a movement of the subject that opens up only to close again in a certain temporal pulsation—a pulsation I regard as being more radical than the insertion in the signifier that no doubt motivates it. may very well be the only way of introducing the universality of the application of this concept. it is a rough indication worth making as a start.PRESENCE OF THE ANALYST possibilities already present to which it will give their perhaps unique composition. properly speaking. but is not primary to it at the level of essence. So to bring out the transference in analysis. which I have placed in the forefront. You have rapid access here to the formulation. since I have been driven to speak of essence. This. more especially. as a refusal of the unconscious—this is a tendency. readily admitted.

Ed. Alan Sheridan. Tavistock Publications. The unconscious is the sum of the effects of speech on a subject. 1966. at the same time much more amenable to the certainty that eludes it. This is what the unconscious is. Me feeling thzatyou are handling Mt clay of instinct? In my Rome report. nor any being possessing knowledge in his pathos. I will ask analysts a straight question: have you ever. to this function of the unconscious have absolutely nothing to do with the Freudian unconscious. his suffering. the unconscious as veiled presence of a thought to be placed at the level of being before it is revealed. 126 . Ecrits. in the term subject—this is why I referred it back to its origin—I am not designating the living substratum needed by this phenomenon of the subject. whether primal or secondary. in a maieutic. 'The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psycho-Analysis'. nor even some incarnated logos. Certainly.THE TRANSFERENCE AND THE DRIVE I have shown. eristic way. who appears at the moment when doubt is recognized as certainty—except that. but the Cartesian subject. but. but it is important to stress that all the acceptations given. This proposition was intended to restore the Freudian unconscious to its true place. it existed and acted before Freud. nothing at all. the bases of this subject prove to be wider. its deviations may be—nothing at all to do with our experience. the unconscious as archaic function. The primal unconscious. that one should see in the unconscious the effects of speech on the subject—in so far as these effects are so radically primary that they are properly what determine the status of the subject as subject. Freud's 1 'Fonction et champ de Ia parole et du langage en psychanalyse'. the metaphysical unconscious of Edward von Hartmann —whatever reference Freud makes to it in an ad Izominem argument—above all the unconscious as instinct—all this has nothing to do with the Freudian unconscious. trans. London. whatever its analytic vocabulary. nor any sort of substance. There is a link between this field and the moment. for a single moment. at the level at which the subject constitutes himself out of the effects of the signifier. Ecrits: a selection. This makes it clear that. before Freud. du Seuil. its inflections. the unconscious has always been present.l I proceeded to a new alliance with the meaning of the Freudian discovery. Paris. through my approach.

the innovation to which I refer. as far as these facts of analytic practice are concerned. opposite each of the terms. we must take account of this slag in our operations. In this sense. unconscious. within analysis. an a-cosmological approach. is lost. in the sense that all these fields are characterized by tracing in the real a new furrow in relation to the knowledge that might from all eternity be attributed to God. repetition. very characteristic of the condition of man in our times of supposed information—obscurantism which. on an initial. If it is true that psycho-analysis rests on a fundamental conflict. a Planck. It is here that the presence of the psycho-analyst as witness of this loss. we can get nothing more out of it—for it is a dead loss. is irreducible. is that the Freudian field is a field which. Psycho-analysts of today. in particular. transference. I can well believe will be regarded as incredible in the future. as we must of the caput mortuum of the discovery of the unconscious. in linear form. with no gain to show. without really knowing why. of a conflict situation. What I mean by obscurantism is. radical drama as far as everything that might be included under the heading psychical is concerned. and which is called recall of the field and function of speech and language in psychoanalytic experience. a certain deepening of obscurantism. 127 . It is this link I express when I compare it with the approach of a Newton. the difference which will most surely guarantee the survival of Freud's field. Paradoxically. necessary to the very existence of analysis. The loss is necessarily produced in a shaded area—which is designated by the oblique stroke with which I divide the formulae which unfold. At this level. when it is revealed. such as the predominance of the functions of the ego. except perhaps its resumption in the function of pulsation. the function assumed by psycho-analysis in the propagation of a style that calls itself the American way of in so far as it is characterized by the revival of notions long since refuted in the field of psycho-analysis. of its nature. then. seen in the very same perspective in which the vanity of his discourse appears. an Einstein. the presence of the psycho-analyst. must be included in the concept of the unconscious.PRESENCE OF THE ANALYST moment. This area of loss even involves. It justifies the maintenance.

a function regarded by the orthodoxy of the psycho-analytic association as dangerous. if not at the level of a transcendental analysis of cause. if they held their hands tightly. That is why. a non-existent of possibility. by putting the terms of the apodosis in the plural tolluntur would mean that the ejects are successfisl only in the absence of cause. but also a function of the cause at the level of the unconscious—this cause must be conceived as. for intervening in the transference. indeed. as constituting. I believe Henri an existent. a cause to be sustained. I would regard this effect as radical. a lost cause. but. this renewal of the alliance with Freud's discovery. an intervention in the conflict. fundamentally. The function of missing lies at the centre of analytic repetition. as in the song. I stress the importance of the ever avoided encounter. At this point. The concept of repetition brings me to the following dilemma —either I assume quite simply my implication as analyst in the eristic character of the discord of any description of my experience. or I polish up the concept at the level of something that would be impossible to objectify. in the misunderstood concept of repetition. It is a hibition that brings to being an existent in spite of its non128 . causal order which demands to join in their dance. Now. in comparison with tuche. the vanity of repetition. This recall has an immediate implication in that it has itself a transferential effect. of the missed opportunity. I should define unconscious cause. Cause might be formulated on the basis of the classical formula of the ablata causa tollitur ejectus—I would have only to stress the singular of the protasis. And it is the only chance one has of winning it.THE TRANSFERENCE AND THE DRIVE does not claim to exhaust the possibilities of the unconscious. ablata causa. neither as a non-existent—as. in relation to my audience. In any case. its constitutive occultation. The appointment is always missed—this is what constitutes. since it is. this is recognized by the fact that my seminar has been criticized precisely for playing. All the effects are subjected to the pressure of a transfactual. itself. nor as a of the proEy does. they would prevent the cause intruding in their round. This indicates that the cause of the unconscious—and you see that the word cause is to be taken here in its ambiguity. far from denying it.

to observe the multiplicity. Is this the point at which the concept of the transference appears? It would seem so. This behaviour. which we cannot impute to him. And the certainty of the analyst himself concerning the unconscious cannot be derived from the concept of the transference. after all. the plurality. given my own theorization. in my terms. lies in wait for us —this consists in seeing in the concept of the transference no more than the concept of repetition itself. One may go so far as to believe that the opacity of the trauma—as it was then maintained in its initial function by Freud's thought. this moment is not simply the moment-limit that seems to correspond to what I 129 . I do not claim to be able to provide you with an exhaustive account of them. that is to say.PRESENCE OF THE ANALYST advent. It is a Gordian knot that leads us to the following conclusion—the subject is looking for his certainty. a sliding-away (glissenzent). In Freud. I shall simply try to guide you through the paths of a chosen exploration. But let us look at it more closely. in an enigmatic way. it is a function of the impossible on which a certainty is based. For this indeterminate of pure being that has no point of access to determination. Let us not forget that when Freud presents it to us. he says —what cannot be remembered is repeated in behaviour. that I should see this as a highly significant moment in the transfer of powers from the subject to the Other. therefore. what I call the capital Other (le grand Autre). its resistance to signification—is then specifically held responsible for the limits of remembering. It is striking. in order to reveal what it repeats. At its emergence in the writings and teachings of Freud. And. the plurivalence even. the locus of truth. this primary position of the unconscious that is articulated as constituted by the indetermination of the subject—it is to this that the transference gives us access. is handed over to the analyst's reconstruction. and one often goes no further. of the conceptions of the transference that have been formulated in analysis. 3 This brings us to the function of the transference. it is hardly surprising. the locus of speech and. potentially.

its closing up. Far from being the handing over of powers to the unconscious. there are many ways of conceiving the transference. namely. It is already there. They are not necessarily mutually exclusive. The transference is the means by which the communication of the unconscious is interrupted. In analytic practice. and consists in appealing to his common sense. can only con- taminate practice—I am referring to the conception which would have the analysis of the transference proceed on the basis of an alliance with the healthy part of the subject's ego. Ubertragungiwiderstand. a play of the signifier. is that the transference is essentially resistant. this is often simply to give a lateralized view of what is essentially the relation with the capital Other. the capital Other. by way of 130 . when something has begun to yield itself from the unconscious. Freud was able to define as the ego-ideal or the super-ego. The Other. slips of tongue or pen. has already in its formations—dreams. present in the subjective revelation. are partial. although the conceptions of the relation of the subject to one or other of• those agencies which. The analyst's interpretation merely reflects the fact that the unconscious. When Freud introduces the function of the transference. There is a conception which. is already there in every opening. however fleeting it may be. For example. the transference is. by which the unconscious closes up again. wherever it is formulated.THE TRANSFERENCE AND THE DRIVE designated as the moment of the closing up of the unconscious. a temporal pulsation that makes it disappear at a certain point of its statement (enonce). I want to stress this question because it is the dividing line between the correct and incorrect conception of the transference. in the second stage of his Topography. of the unconscious. But there are other divergences that are irreducible. he is careful to mark this moment as the cause of what we call the transference. They may be defined at different levels. if it is what I say it is. from the outset. What Freud shows us. is. This is essential in noting the paradox that is expressed quite commonly in the fact —which may even be found in Freud's writings—that the analyst must await the transference before beginning to give his interpretation. even beforehand. The Other. latent or not. on the contrary. witticisms or symptoms—proceeded by interpretation.

I can do no more than suggest here the reversion involved in this schema in relation to the model one has of it in one's head.PRESENCE OF THE ANALYST pointing out to him the illusory character of certain of his actions in his relation with the analyst. namely the bringing to awareness of this split in the subject. in fact. in relation to the unconscious. namely. only too willing to open the shutters again. The contradiction of its function. it is outside. through the mouth of the analyst. behind. It is a knot. I say somewhere that the unconscious is the discourse of the Other. Nevertheless. realized here. calls for the reopening of the shutter. And here is revealed the permanent conceptual crisis that exists in analysis concerning the way in which the function of the transference should be conceived. in presence. or the window. I would support my view by citing a recent article that demonstrates this in the most striking way—and it is the work of no mediocre mind. To appeal to some healthy part of the subject thought to be there in the real. is to misunderstand that it is precisely this part that is concerned in the transference. It is this discourse. that it is this part that closes the door. This is a thesis that subverts what it is all about. that of the unconscious. for it is to the beauty one must speak. It will not be thought unnecessary. which causes it to be apprehended as the point of impact of the force of the interpretation by the very fact that. there is a paradox in designating this movement of closure as the initial moment when the interpretation may assume its full force. which. a knot. to remind you of these. That is why it is at this moment that interpretation becomes decisive. It is a closely argued. is not beyond the closure. 4 There is a crisis in analysis and. it is a moment of closure—this is why we must treat it as what it is. Now. the discourse of the Other that is to be realized. Whether or not we treat it as a Gordian knot remains to be seen. capable ofjudging with the analyst what is happening in the transference. and it prompts us to account for it—as I have been doing for several years—by considerations of topology. to show that there is nothing biased in this. or the shutters. I hope. very '3' . or whatever—and that the beauty with whom one wishes to speak is there.

uncontrolled hazard. for him. It is quite striking that an author. who is indeed one of the most highly regarded in his circle.THE TRANSFERENCE AND THE DRIVE engaging article by Thomas S. but of the destruction of psycho-analysis itself. nor the 'raising of standards'. should regard the transference as nothing more than a defence on the part of the psycho-analyst. And here the confusion arises—only the integrity of the analyst and of the analytic situation can safeguard from extinction the unique dialogue between analysand and analyst. quite logically— Transference is similar to such concepts as delusion. it seemed to me. except that here the analyst is a judge against whom there is neither appeal nor recourse. which is specifically that of American psycho-analysis. Xeither professionalization. that part which is capable of judging reality and of separating it from illusion. it is a question of agreement between the analysand and the analyst. nor coerced training analyses can protect us from this danger. did not mean inspire. a truly moving search for the authenticity of the analytic way. and self This hazard must be frankly recognized. unfortunately. It is an inspired and indispensable concept—I quote—jet it harbours the seeds. for this Syracuse is in New York State— which appeared in the latest number of The International Journal of The author was inspired to write this article by an idea in keeping with the line of investigation that inspired his earlier articles. colleagues. and phantasy. This is a concept that he calls inspired—I am always suspicious offaux arnie in English vocabulary. necessitated by the very fact that he can conceive of the analysis of the transference only in terms of an assent obtained from the healthy part of the ego. Once the presence of the transference has been established. does not make him any more closely related to Archimedes. we are led to call any analysis of the transference a field of pure. This blind alley that Szasz has created for himself is. Szasz—who hails from Syracuse. not only of its own destruction. so I have tried to tread warily when translating it. illusion. This inspired. and should arrive at the following conclusion—the transference is the pivot on which the entire structure of psycho-analytic treatment rests. Why? Because it tends to place the person of the analyst beyond the reality testing of patients. but something like ojicieux. which fact. His article begins thus. 132 .

and this will be the other side of our examination of '33 . on the point on which one is mistaken. What better way of assuring oneself. for it is not what radically causes the closure involved in the transference. This dimension is always absent from the logical positivism that happens to dominate Szasz's analysis of the concept of transference. we assure ourselves of being able to continue to misunderstand precisely what we lack. to discuss an objectivity that appears to have been posited there as the gravitational effect of a compression in behaviour. in so far as it highlights the dimension of love at the point named—this will serve us as an exemplary door to demonstrate the trick next time. When I introduced you to the subject of Cartesian certainty as the necessary starting-point of all our speculations as to what the unconscious reveals. must on no account be deceptive. even when it consists of lies. we must bring out the domain of possible deception. so as to encourage us to restore here a determina- tion that should bring into play another order—that of truth. But this is not all I have to show you. Truth is based only on the fact that speech. But one has to admit that if there is one domain in which. it is said.PRESENCE OF THE ANALYST I have taken this article only as an extreme case. the danger is that this Other will be deceived. My own conception of the dynamics of the unconscious has been called an intellectualization—on the grounds that I based the function of the signifier in the forefront. What causes it. than to persuade the other of the truth of what one says! Is not this a fundamental structure of the dimension of love that the transference gives us the opportunity of depicting? In persuading the other that he has that which may comple- ment us. it is certainly love that provides its model. but a very revealing one. The circle of deception. in a dual position. I pointed out the role of essential balancer played in Descartes by the Other which. appeals to it and gives rise to it. This is not the only dimension to be apprehended in the transference. in discourse. deception has some chance of success. In analysis. Is it not apparent that it is in this operational mode—in which everything makes light of the confrontation between a reality and a connotation of illusion attributed to the phenomenon of the transference— that this supposed intellectualization really resides? Far from us having to consider two subjects.

I nevertheless gave you a little rope with some very precise references. I know that. the shaded. this is what is in question and which I have not touched on today. I was referring specifically to the formulation of it given by Henri Ey. what a little while ago I called the beauty behind the shutters. to be closed. With the öv. use these terms is still to over-sub- stantify the unconscious. of split. the remainder is always fruitful. WAHL: To what theory of knowledge. In the unconscious there is a corpus of knowledge (un savoir). in the system of existing theories.'. which must in no way be conceived as knowledge to be completed. magnetized to the profound degree of dissociation.THE TRANSFERENCE AND THE DRIVE the concepts of the transference. the term slag is used in an entirely negative way. P.'. oi'x 6. it is hardly surprising if you cannot find a model for it in Plotinus. and I do not think that here I am transgressing the boundaries that I have All the same. This is the key-point at which we must see the Gordian knot. I spoke of the 6. of the says-no. This is why I have carefully avoided them. might what you said in the first half of the lecture be related? LAC AN: Since I am saying that it is the novelty of the Freudian field to provide us in experience with something that is fundamentally apprehended like that. I spoke of the 1ui)öv. of whom it cannot be said that he is the best qualified person to speak of the unconscious—he manages to situate the unconscious somewhere in his theory of consciousness. Here. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS F. It refers to that true regression '34 . of the prohibition. behind the screen. reserved part—what I have designated by the objet a. Having said this. is—to come back to the question mark inscribed in the left part. of the oi'x. What there is beyond. It is a question of mapping out how something of the subject is. despite my refusal to follow Miller's first question on the subject of an ontology of the unconscious. it does structure in a laid down for perfectly transmissible way the points on which your question bears. magnetized. The slag is the extinguished remainder. KAUPMANN: What relation is there between what you have designated as slag and what you earlier spoke of as remainder? LACAN: In human destiny. This does not go very far as a strictly metaphysical indication.

By slag. I mean here the analysts themselves. 15 April 1964 I 35 .PRESENCE OF THE ANALYST that may occur on the plane of the theory of psychological knowledge. He then seeks for assurances in theories that operate in the direction of an orthopaedic. in so far as the analyst finds himself placed in a field in which he has no other course but to flee. this is what sets the tone of our era. Together with an uncritical manipulation of evolutionism.]. nothing more—whilst the discovery of the unconscious is still young. and it is an unprecedented opportunity for subversion. conformist therapeutics. providing access for the subject to the most mythical conception of happiness [English in the original—Tr.

I According to the author. by way of amusing his public. which went so far as to question the use in analysis of the notion of transference. I took the opportunity offered me by an article published in a recent number of the most official organ of psycho-analysis. lying. by Spitz. in a humourous way. namely. a dream involving the realization of erotic desires with one's analyst. It is illustrated. He takes as an example one of his patients. I introduced the concept of the transference.II ANALYSIS AND TRUTH OR THE CLOSURE OF THE UNCONSCIOUS Telling the truth. being wrong• The I lie and the I think• Homunculus or The validity ofpsyc/zolog. the two real subjects who are present in it. with Spitz himself. for anyone who has seen the bald pate of the character in question. and it is well enough known to be regarded as famous. would seem to be a case in which the analyst could quite easily show the subject just how far the effects of the unconscious can give rise to distortion. I did so in a rather problematic way. I now intend to return to this article. as it happens—sees him sporting a head of luxuriant blond hair—which. there are the cases in which the effect of discordance is very obvious. from the standpoint of the difficulties it presented to the analyst. and no fool. illusion and its rectsjication The transference is the enaction of the reality of the unconscious Last time. in a dream that is called a transference dream—that is to say. who. But when it is a question of qualiFjing a patient's behaviour . one of the old guard. The International Journal of Psycho-Analysis. First. the analyst is supposed to point out to the patient the effects of more or less manifest discordances that occur with regard to the reality of the analytic situation.

in a static way. he is essentially situated in the dimension of the making a mistake (se tromper). in his discourse. in error. when his '37 . in the last resort. who. and is considered 'transference'. an article entitled The Will of Recovery. It is that. if it is not a recall to the dimension of truth? 1 can only situate this article. by the same token. It is clear that this relation is established on a plane that is not reciprocal. By recovery. retour (return). You have the choice of two things. then. lacking. as restauration (restoration). What can this mean. he means not so much guérison (cure). From the latter. in the impasse into which his reflection has led him. It is not simply that the subject is. I am referring to Nunberg. manifesting. I have found a description of this from yet another analyst. in the International Journal of Psycho-analysis. I showed you last time that in the relation of the one with the other that is set up in analysis. To bring us back to the almost phenomenological data that enable us to resituate the problem where it actually is. published. can drve the patient to have recourse to the analyst. It is a slippery slope that I myself have been denouncing for a long time. in a moving way. since I have shown that a certain one-sided way of theorizing the practice of the analysis of the transference would necessarily lead to it. considering him as operating not in a heuristic. only. or at least to know more than the other. This crisis of conscience concerns us only in an incidental way. to ask him for something he calls health. This brings us back to that at once mythical and idealizing pole that Szasz calls the integrity of the analyst. the thought immediately arises that not only must he not make a mistake (se trompa) . one dimension is eluded. the presence of a true crisis of conscience in the function of the analyst. not symmetrical. quite wrongly. there is established a search for truth in which the one is supposed to know. but also that he can be misled (on pent le tromper).ANALYSIS AND TRUTH as uncomplimentary to the analyst. thrown back upon the subject. the patient's view is incorrect. What. This much Szasz observes. The making a mistake (se tromper) is. in the perspective in which its author himself places it. to deplore it—in this relation of the one with the other. but in an eristic way. The word is very well chosen and poses a question well worth our attention. in 1926. says Szasz—the analyst's view is correct and is considered 'reality'.

and even by. of itself. the opposite of what he came to propose as the first aim of his analysis—not the restoration of his marriage. We now find ourselves at last—in the very act of the commitment to analysis and certainly. In the first instance. is precisely his unconscious aim. when some hitch has occurred in his sexual function. does recourse to analysis have to offer him. one of the effects of my teaching to limit the unconscious to what might be called its narrowest platform. in its most immediate implications. strictly speaking. 2 You will see why the relation of the subject to the signifier is the reference-point that I wished to place at the forefront of a general rectification of analytic theory. for it is as primary and constitutive in the establishment of analytic experience as it is primary and constitutive in the radical function of the unconscious. What shelter. Nunberg has no difficulty in showing that one doesn't have to have gone very far in analysis to see. but a break with it. It is. double-sided. that we see set up the dimension of truth. no doubt. sometimes with great clarity. therefore. in its first stages —in maximum contact with the profound ambiguity of any assertion on the part of the patient. it is as establishing itself in. which purposely distinguishes the level of the enunciation (énonciation) from the level of the statement (énoncé). a certain lie. shaken. since the lie as such is itself posited in this dimension of truth. for example. But it is in relation to this point of division that I cannot err on the side of any substantification. in the form of a temporary suspension of his presence at home. the patient admits to a desire. many of them humorous.THE TRANSFERENCE AND THE DRIVE symptom—so the theory says—is created in order to bring him certain satisfactions? With a great many examples. and the fact that it is. I will centre things on the four-cornered schema of my graph. in order to re-establish peace in his home. Its use can be illustrated from the fact that a too formal logical 138 . or some extra-marital desire! From the outset. for balance. that what motivated the patient in his search for health. in which respect it is not.

it is quite possible for me to formulate in a valid way that the I—the I who. and that. you are telling the truth. that is to say. Why are you telling me you are going to Lemberg. the other replies. and therefore you are not lying. of what it produces at the level of the enunciation—what results is an I am deceivingyou. determined retroactively. despite its paradox. the shifter which.ANALYSIS AND TRUTH thinking introduces absurdities. even an antinomy of reason in the statement Jam lying. the I of the enunciation is not the same as the I of the statement. since you really are going there. and so on. at that moment. that he is lying afterwards. formulates the Jam 3(0) statement—is lying. becomes a signification. it is so that I shall think that you are going to Cracow? This division between the statement and the enunciation means that. from the point at which I state. It is quite clear that the I am lying. in the statement. forming part. in the Other. jfyou are telling me this. I am tying. The Jam deceiving you arises from the point at which the analyst awaits '39 . that in saying I am lying. whereas everyone knows that there is no such thing. is perfectly valid. that he lied a little before. So. It is quite wrong to reply to this I am lying—If you say. in effect. engendered at the level of the statement. or even. One does not have to go very far to illustrate this with an example—take the Jewish joke in which one Jew tells another that he is catching the train for Lemberg. he declares that he has the intention of deceiving. designates him. of the treasury of vocabulary in which the I. Indeed. from the Jam lying which is at the level of the chain of the statement—the am lying is a signifier.

But the status of the I think is as reduced. which became possible with the discovery of the unconscious—which. Certainly. what you are sending as message is what I express to you. Let us bring to this schema the Cartesian I think. Perhaps the I think. In effect. the distinction between the enunciation and the statement is what makes their sliding away (glissement) always possible. 140 . and in doing so you are felling the truth. their possible stumbling block. I would like to show you how this schema can help us in grasping Freud's fundamental approach.THE TRANSFERENCE AND THE DRIVE the subject. as punctual—and might be just as affected by the connotation of the that is meaningless—as that of the Jam lying referred to earlier. according to the formula. his own message in its true signification. He says to him— in this I am deceiving you. and lished by the cogito. but constitution. as minimal. a sufficient status in the order of the Let us say that it is by taldng its place at the level of the enunciation that the cogito acquires its certainty. the analyst is in a position to formulate this you are telling the truth. course. In the way of deception in which the subject is venturing. of has always been there. that is to say. in an inverted form. and sends back to him. and my interpretation has meaning only in this dimension. if anything is estabit is the register of thought. at the time of Thales and at the level of the most primitive inter-human modes of relations. in so far as it is extracted from an opposition to extension—a fragile status. reduced to this punctuality of being certain only of the absolute doubt concerning all signification.

he has been able to constitute himself as subject. the point of synthesis. but of the one one. It is at the level. in relation to what Freud contributes here. I will pinpoint the function of the Cartesian cogito by the term monster or homunculus. When this signifier. and first he marks himself as a tatoo. this one. I would now warn you '4' . for example. Thus is marked the first split that makes the subject as such distinguish himself from the sign in relation to which. is established—the reckoning is one one. belongs to desire. Whatever animates. the first of the signifiers. the two ones are already distinguished. The difference of status given to the subject by the discovered dimension of the Freudian unconscious derives from desire. In order to illustrate this. The function of this little fellow was already denounced by preSocratic thought. that the subject has to situate himself as such. I will remind you that the thing may be presented in the simplest possible way by the single stroke. in so far as it is constituted as secondary in relation to the signifier. who is the driver. In my own vocabulary. which consists in taking this Iof the cogito for the homunculus who has long been represented whenever one has wished to practise psychology—whenever one has wished to account for inanity or psychological discordance by the presence. I would remark in passing that desire. goes further. This function is illustrated by the curve. in its striving towards certainty. I will now dare to define the Cartesian I think as participating. which has not failed to occur in the history of what is called thought. of the celebrated little fellow who governs him.ANALYSIS AND TRUTH its own included. by means of which he will not become confused in his memory when he has killed ten others. The first signifier is the notch by which it is indicated. in a sort of abortion. at first. In this respect. as I formulate it. The subject himself is marked off by the single stroke. that which any enunciation speaks of. and it is by means of this single stroke that he will count them. which must be situated at the level of the cogito. He will not have to remember which is which. at the level of the reckoning. as we now say. that the subject has killed one animal. not of the one. inside man. on the other hand. has a still more fragile status than that in which we were able to attack the I am lying. I symbolize the subject by the barred S [$1.

according to the inflections. or ever young. mapping the subject in relation to reality. the function of the internal object. have effects. momentary. monad traditionally set up as the centre of knowledge.THE TRANSFERENCE AND THE DRIVE against confusing the function of the $ with the image of the objet a. What I have called the psychological isolate is not the old. such as it is supposed to constitute us. namely. if I may say so. reinforces to an incredible degree the denudation of the subject. and which. amounts to falling already into the degradation of the psychological constitution of the subject. which has nothing to do with the level at which we sustain the psycho-analytic experience. for example. for the Leibnizian monad. in psycho-analytic thinking. and which we cannot eliminate from the analytic text. precarious image of mastery. tests which have been organized by us. something is given to us that comes into the 142 . the centre from which. I would first like to stress that this way of theorizing the operation is in flagrant contradiction. in the cosmos. which—by a deviation which. is merely a detour—is confused. Of course. The psychological isolate comes up again in the concept of the ego. and not in relation to the signifier. It is the domain of validity of what is called psychology. It may produce results. certainly. But. totally at variance. even in this context of unsatisfactory theorization. imagines himself to be a man merely by virtue of the fact that he imagines In analytic practice. it is the centre of knowledge. The terms introjection or projection are always used rather recklessly. when we arrange for the subject to take tests. in so far as it is thus that the subject sees himself duplicated—sees himself as constituted by the reflected. with what in other respects experience leads me to stress. with the subject in distress in the relation to reality. 3 Any departure taken from the relation of the subject to a real context may have its raison d'être in this or that psychologist's experience. this will always be in contexts in which it is we who make reality—for example. make possible the drawing up of tables. is not isolated. I think. what is contemplation or harmony takes place. it is not separable from a cosmology. it is.

in cybernetics or management. syncopated. paradoxical fear. as a mode of access to what is hidden in the unconscious—could only be of itself a precarious way. it will always be repetition of the same missed encounter. revolves everything in a subject's behaviour that represents distortion. you see here and now that the transference—as it is represented to us. When I speak to you of the unconscious as of that which appears in the temporal pulsation. you may picture it to '43 .ANALYSIS AND TRUTH foreground on all sides. if furthermore repetition is not simply a stereotype of behaviour. foreign body. The schemata centred on the function of rectifying illusion have such adhesive power that I will never be able to launch anything too prematurely that. for some. it will do so only by reviving a relation that is. then. in what would the analysis of the transference consist? I will present you with a model. involving the selection of subjects for various responsible jobs. even with the catharsis of the unconscious elements. acts as an obstacle to them. which will have to be improved a great deal later. so take it as a problematic model. with the restoration of what is concealed in the unconscious. even of a lightning-analysis. If the transference is only repetition. to restore the continuity of a history. of its nature. inflection. or when it is a question of training air-line pilots or train-drivers —some have pointed Out that it was a question of concentrating the focusing of a rapid analysis. If the unconscious is what closes up again as soon as it has opened. the function of the internal object. cannot be satisfied with being confused with the efficacity of repetition. but repetition in relation to something always missed. this function is polarized into the extremes of that good or bad object. In the end. Is it an object of perception? From what angle do we approach it? Where does it come from? Following this rectification. that the transference. We see. for example. It is thus the operat- ing point on which. even of the use of certain so called personality tests. at the very least. in accordance with a temporal pulsation. If the transference is supposed. as operating mode. namely. in conditions of urgency—those. around which. for example. through this repetition. We cannot avoid posing the question of the status of this internal object.

What matters is not what goes in there. p. it is in the space of the Other that he sees himself and the point from which he looks at himself is also in that space. We can conceive of the closing of the unconscious through the effect of something that plays the role of obturator—the 1 Ecrits. inverted image of his own body that is given in the schema of the ego is forged. since in so far as he speaks. Whereas according to the image of the double sack (besace).THE TRANSFERENCE AND THE DRIVE yourselves as a hoop net (nasse) which opens slightly at the neck and at the bottom of which the catch of fish will be found. '44 . You will have to superimpose it upon the optical model I gave in my article Remarque sur Ic rapport de Daniel Lagache. it is in the locus of the Other that he begins to constitute that truthful lie by which is initiated that which participates in desire at the level of the unconscious. closed up inside. in which we have to penetrate from the outside. You will then see that it is in the Other that the subject is constituted as ideal. or ideal ego—which is not the ego ideal—that is to say. that he has to regulate the completion of what comes as ego. sees But. Now. So we must consider the subject. but what comes out.. certainly. in terms of the hoop net —especially in relation to its orifice. to constitute himself in his imaginary reality. This schema makes Schema of the hoop net clear—I stress it in relation to the latest elements I have introduced around the scopic drive—that where the subject namely. this is also the point from which he speaks. 647. which constitutes its essential structure—as being inside. it is not from there that he looks at himself. I therefore reverse the topology of the traditional imagery by presenting to you the following schema. where that real. as the Gospel has it.' concerning the ideal ego and the ego ideal. the unconscious is something kept in reserve.

Nor is the transference to be confused with a mere means. for example. —S. The two extremes of what has been formulated in analytic literature are situated here. What is certain is that the transference is one thing. elementary image enables you to restore the constitutive function of the symbolic in its reciprocal contraposition. 1 could illustrate all this from the variety and divergence of the definitions that analysts have given of the function of the transference. S. but precisely in that by which the '45 . breathed. which is the act of missing the right meeting just at the right moment. and a making present of the closure of the unconscious. This schema is quite inadequate. into the orifice of the net. but it is a bulldozerschema which renders congruent the notion that the transference is both an obstacle to remembering. a' i'(a) // S.— / I —— ——